Chapter 34: A Working Prototype
(Damon’s Manor, Kaleion, Present Day)
Damon worried about the struc tural integrity of the spell test room and its ability to withstand what he was about to attempt. It hadn’t been designed for anything even close to this. If it were to structurally fail, during any of these tests, there might not be a manor anymore. There might not be a planet anymore either. Not a comforting thought as he prepared the smallest possible test case. It needed to be a spell that didn’t scale with his own power, that way he could isolate the incremental scale attributable to the Zero-Point field. Many combat spells scaled up with the mage’s ability as they progressed in their profession and experience. He couldn’t use a spell like that for this test case, otherwise, he wouldn’t easily be able to tell what part of the scaling up came from his own power versus that of the Zero-Point field.
While arcane derived its power from all living organisms, allowing one with the proper talent to channel arcane into forms of matter or energy of choosing, it could not scale, or even operate, where there were no living organisms. That was going to become a very big problem he had to overcome for his master plan to work. Arcane was also limited where magic was dying, dead, or forbidden. Many of the protective shields used to either keep magic out or keep someone from sourcing energy were dependent on solely the arcane energy source. That produced many unfavorable possibilities in his master plan. As a reliable, scalable energy source, arcane just couldn’t be compared to Zero-Point or dark energy—especially in the possible ecosystems he might find himself very soon.
He needed a baseline—something small, something safe. Ensuring he closed the doors to the spell test room behind him, he produced a single glowing light orb, which exclusively used arcane, about the size of his head. It slowly floated away from him, dissipating into nothing when it hit the far wall.
Rarely did Damon ever get nervous, but he was searching for the confidence now to continue this test. Thinking momentarily while he paused, what other precautions should I take? Ah… His black eyes sparkled almost gold. Touching the closest test wall, he channeled Damon’s Improved Shield into it, letting it scale normally with his power. An instant later, channeling, he put up the same protections for himself.
Seemingly satisfied, he focused. With his left hand sourcing the Zero-Point field he could feel closest to him, surrounding him, this room, this building, these grounds, but not wanting to go any further. It was as if he could sense himself almost inside the toroidal field of energy he now accumulated in his left hand. With his right hand, he attempted to use arcane to describe, shape, and control the energy he wanted to form in front of him. Thinking only of the light orb… Blindness!
* * * *
(About a half-hour later…)
His eyelids felt stuck shut as something pecked at his face. Was that a bird? Where am I? It took way more effort than it should, but he managed to eke out a tiny bit of vision out of his left eye where he was barely able to separate his eyelid. Why am I outside, he wondered, looking at the big yellow ball in the sky that was the sun. A bit more effort and his left eye was fully open—his right not so much. Damon touched his eye. It was caked with blood, so he forced it open. Not good, he judged, looking around, trying to get his bearings. Man, it’s hot. He could see his manor way off in the distance. Rough guess, he might have been a mile to a mile-and-a-half away, and he saw what looked like trenches in his well-kept grass where he could only assume his body had been skidding to a stop.
Getting up wasn’t easy. Painful was more like it. It felt like his left leg was broken, but he’d been injured much worse before. Only, not from a light orb spell. Starting the long walk back to the manor, he actually had to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other.
“Shit,” walking on one good leg took a bit of time, but he could a lready see the damage to the front of his manor, and it was extensive. Examining the ten-foot by twelve-foot, rough-edged cavity right about where the third-floor would be, he could see pieces of his robes, flesh, and blood all over the opening he’d blown in his manor. Looking around the grounds, he found one of the double-doors, then the other about one hundred feet away blown in the opposite direction. He couldn’t quite make out the condition of the spell test room, but it looked like the manor was tilting. “Shit!”
Inside it was worse. No power, he considered, looking at the dead chandeliers hanging askew from a ripped ceiling. Can’t be good. The second-floor grand library had been blown into the foyer. Hundreds of books lay everywhere in thousands of pieces all over the floor, ceiling, stairway, butler’s kitchen, and main kitchen. Pretty much everywhere he looked was wrecked!
He had to use the staircase railing to help him up the circular staircase. At least it didn’t appear blocked so far. He bypassed the second-floor, heading straight to the third and fourth where he had things he really did care about—things it had taken him many lifetimes to acquire. Stepping into the third-floor hallway, or what was left of it, it looked as if the walls, ceiling, and floor of the spell test room had swollen like the walls of a balloon bursting all the way through here and there. Interior construction materials of the spell test room could be found throughout the U-shaped hallway, and parts of the fourth-floor were visible from where he now stood, directly in between the great hole that he’d blown in the front of his manor and what used to be the entrance of the spell test room. He examined the gaping hole in the front of his manor first, nodding. Impressive, Day. Good job! He didn’t need to examine his body to know the pieces of flesh on the wall were his. Might need Kellen’s help again, he thought. Turning to the spell test room where it appeared the right side of the room exploded downward with slightly more force than the left. Hmmm, I was trying to control it with my right hand, and I was standing just right of center in the room. That was telling.
Heading back to the staircase, “Let’s go see what else you fucked up,” cursing himself aloud as he headed up to the fourth-floor.
“Wow!” That was really the only word for it. Dallia’s room and Eva nyil’s room survived the blast pretty well, but his ritual room did not. From here he could see down into the spell test room, Library, and even down into the Foyer on the first-floor. Black granite flooring from the ritual room had been blown outward through the ritual room ceiling, through the roof. “So much for the new solar panels.” Damon just shook his head at his incompetence. But as he looked outside, through the hundred-foot hole he’d blown in his roof, something was off about the time of day. Then he remembered, it had just turned nightfall when he began his test. “No fucking way,” he realized aloud as reality slammed home, looking back up into the sky at the sun that was not a sun at all. He estimated his light orb to be about twenty miles up by now, bright enough to light up about a third of his home world when it should have been the dead of night. He wasn’t sure if that qualified for a working prototype or not, but it was certainly going to draw some unwanted attention.
* * * *
The odor from the burning entrails in his open brazier perfumed Kellen’s robes in a most foul way; it was still discernable as he stepped through a hastily formed Portal to Damon’s manor. Damon had lost his mind this time! He was going to get them both killed—or worse!
“Hey, Damon.” That was bad when Kellen used his full name. “So I was working on finding out some information for us. You know burning the midnight oil and stuff—so to speak, and out of the corner of my eye I notice the sunrise in the FUCKING MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT!” Placing, no slapping really, his right hand on Damon’s left collar bone where pieces of flesh had been sheered away enough to expose bone causing Damon to wince, Kellen wanted—no, Kellen deserved—some answers. “So what’s up, Ra?”
Kellen’s reference to the Egyptian Pantheon Sun God Ra hadn’t gone unnoticed, and in fact made Damon smile even though his body seared with pain.
“Part of my master plan,” Damon quipped.
“THIS,” Kellen pointed up through the hole in Damon’s roof to the new star Damon had unintentionally created, while nearly hopping as his hand stretched outward to the sky, “THIS IS PART OF YOUR MASTER PLAN!” Looking around at the devastation Damon had wrought on his manor, Kellen nodded in satisfaction. “You need to fire your interior decorator by the way.”
“Believe it or not, I did take precautions.”
“Oh, THIS is YOU taking precautions!!!” Motioning around to the rubble of what was left of Damon’s manor, it took effort for Kellen not to jump up and down, he was so mad.
Just shaking his head in indignation, Damon didn’t know what to say, but this was bad!
“I mean, WHAT?” Kellen paused, thinking about the power it must have taken, far beyond anything he’d ever channeled before and knowing how much more experienced he was than Damon, it made Kellen legitimately nervous, nearly terrified. “How?”
“Let me get the bugs worked out, and then I’ll show you. This was my first prototype.”
“Geez, Day. I mean…” Thinking about the long game, Kellen was worried. “This is going to draw the WRONG kind of attention.”
“Oh yes, I’m fully aware.”
“So what else is part of your master plan?”
“Somewhere not on our home world!” It wasn’t a request from Kellen.
“Somewhere not on our home world,” Damon agreed.
Still shaking his head back and forth, Kellen was still in awe. Damon’s Star had to be five miles across at least! “I gotta tell you Day when you fail, you don’t fuck around!”
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