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Part 1

Part 9, 102nd continuation

Landing Page

Peric studied Lucille before nodding. It didn’t surprise him that she’d do something like that, because he was certain that he’d watched her do it more than once, gathering her fear around her as some sort of protection from anything that might happen. Unfortunately it didn’t stop the bad things from actually happening. They still happened – she was just better able to cope with them, like she had when the assassins had attacked her and Bertram. Maybe if it was real the assassins never would have attacked, but that was something that couldn’t be changed, even though they all wished it could… there was a possibility that the wish had been granted on another Quiar and Peric wondered what would happen if someone could travel back in time and change the past.

‘You don’t want to, Peric,’ Quiar said, almost making him jump, but managing to stop himself before anyone, apart from Lucille, noticed. ‘Change the past, I mean. If you did… well, there are things that might happen that you really wouldn’t want.’

‘There’s a chance that changing the past could make things worse.’

‘Exactly. What you might be aiming to do is stop the assassins, but by doing that you’d bring some more dangerous assassins, or someone would attack at a different time, or there might not be any at all and then you wouldn’t find out about the link to Fasach.’

‘Is that why there have always been rules?’

‘Unfortunately the fae have always been willing to break their own rules.’ Quiar sighed. ‘There have been times before when they have changed the timeline, but fortunately that always creates another possible future, so I can talk to those Quiars about what has happened, but it’s never something that will affect you. On Aerith, though, things are different. Like all magic time magic has evolved and it works very differently there. Instead of creating another Aerith is simply changes the memories of everyone there, so they don’t know that something was changed, but there are a few people who are immune to that and they fight against the use of the magic, because they believe that what’s being done is unfair to the general populace.’

‘What so you think?’

‘I think it’s a difficult choice to make. Aerith could make it so that time magic can’t be used at all, but if that happened I think it would cause some major difficulties, as the majority of the races who live there do know that the worlds of the Web are sentient. They would know that it was Aerith’s choice and they really wouldn’t be at all happy. Normally making your races unhappy is something you avoid doing, although there are times when we have no other option, so Aerith is a little wary of doing something like that, because she knows that she’d have to deal with the wrath of the Time Council. I’m certain the majority of people wouldn’t think we’d be worried about something that seems so unimportant and yet that’s because they have no true understanding of what’s important.

‘We see things differently, because we have to. The passing of time is very different for us, as we know we’ll live forever, and we do our best to help the people who inhabit us to live every moment – every moment of your life now is precious, every moment of your next life will be, and every moment of the death in between is too. I know the time will come when I talk to you in your next life, so it will be as though you’re still here to me, even though you’ll be a very different person.’

‘Even if I chose to live on another world?’

‘You won’t.’

‘You can’t know that for certain.’

‘I know you, Peric, and I have done for a very long time. I’m as certain as I can be that you’ll live at least another life on Quiar, but I think it will be more, especially if you chose to learn about your past lives.’

‘Dropping hints isn’t helping.’

Quiar laughed. ‘I never once said I was going to help. Honestly, Peric, I would like you to know about the lives you lived before, but in the end it is your choice. I’m not going to force you into something you’re not ready for and you have time to think, as there is no possibility of you starting your discoveries until after you’ve finished the case.’

‘How long is it going to take?’

‘That’s a question I can’t answer, because there are still decisions that you all need to make. It’s those decisions that will affect how long you’ll be travelling, where you’ll be going, and when you’ll be going home.’

‘Great.’

‘I know all you really want to do is go back to Sheepshank…’

‘No, what I want right now is to not have to go to a hame where I might end up dead.’

‘Lucille has that sorted. It’s what she does, Peric, and you know that. She’s not going to let anything happen to you when you’re there.’

‘Might it?’

‘So far none of the Perics that have ended up in Fasach have been harmed in any way. There are a couple of Perics who have done things differently, by making a deal with certain people to make certain they’re safe, but most of them have used charms of some form in order to disguise themselves, and now they’re well on their way to finding out who’s in charge of the counterfeit ring in whichever town it was they ended up in.’

‘Why are we so far behind?’

‘You started much later than they did. On their Quiar they’ve been hunting for the counterfeiters for over a year now, because they made some very different choices to you three. I’m sure that will come as no surprise to you.’

‘So we actually found out more in less time?’

‘Yes, you did. That is partly thanks to Lucille’s timely arrival. If she hadn’t arrived when she did everything would have taken much longer, then you wouldn’t have been in Seahorse when you are, and because of that you met some very different people…’ Quiar trailed off. ‘Maybe, if I get a chance, I’ll show you some of the other Perics, as I think you’d appreciate that, but there is only so much I can show you. Otherwise you might start to see parts of what might become your future, although I do doubt that very much, as you are very different to the other Perics. I’m glad I have you, especially as some of the other Quiars like you more than their own Perics.’

Peric wasn’t certain what to say to that. It was flattering that other Quiars liked him, but it was strange that they liked him more than their own Perics, who they’d have known for millennia. ‘Any particular reason why?’

‘As I’ve said before, Peric, all of you are very different. You’ve learnt different lessons and some of you didn’t start from the same point that you did.’ Quiar sighed. ‘This is something that is particularly hard to explain, because I can easily tell you too much, which is something I really don’t want to be doing right now. So much rests on you making your own choices in the future.’

‘Tell me about one of the Perics. One who has less of a connection to me.’

‘You should be focusing on what they’re talking about.’

‘I don’t want to right now, Quiar. I’m sure Lucille will fill me in later, because she already knows that I’m talking to you, and this… it’s so much simpler than having to deal with what’s happening.’

‘Sometimes you have to.’

‘Yes, but that sometimes isn’t now, otherwise you wouldn’t be here talking to me.’

‘True. I thought you could do with something to take your mind off things. The last few days have been harder on you than they have on anyone else and I include Bertram in that. His future is going to be very different not, but it is something he can learn to cope with. It’s not going to be easy, though, so he’s going to need all the support he can get.’

‘Personally I think Bert’s had it much harder than I have.’

‘You would, but I’ve seen what your choices have done to both of you mentally and I do think you’ve made some much more difficult choices than he has. I do admire him for going out there when he knew he might be attacked, but he didn’t chose to go after one of the assassins and find out what he needed to know from her, because he knew he really didn’t have any other choice. That’s changed you, Peric, I think for the better.’

‘How can it have changed me for the better?’

‘By doing what you did you have a greater understanding of the power that you have. It’s something you couldn’t have got any other way, unfortunately, due to your home town.’

Mirrored from K. A. Webb Writing.

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