Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Other Witch; Simplification

Cast: Salvia Hex

"Excuse me," Salvia presented her credentials to the receptionist at the Local branch of the BoS.  The Bureau was the only part of the Imperial Government that wouldn't have managed to destroy the records by now, and even if they had managed to they'd have enough reports about the files they were destroying to piece together whatever had been lost.  In a certain sense it was the perfect file storage system, only downside was that you could never get rid of anything no matter how bad it was.
"Do you have your forms in order?" Oh, and there was that too, getting any of the stored files took a good month and a half, even if you just wanted to find out what time it was five minutes ago.  Consummate bureaucrats, it was no wonder they called it 'the Bureau of Simplification' no one else would have ever gotten anything done if they weren't locked up in here.
"Yes, of course.  One Formal request for restricted information form, one request for access to starport records form, and a renewal of concealed weapons permit form, all filled out in triplicate and stamped by my superiors."  That third one wasn't real.  Even the bureau didn't give a crap about your particular level of paranoia as long as they were sure at least another three people in the room were a bit paranoid too.  She just wanted to get the point across that she didn't actually have to ask; if she really wanted it, they weren't going to stop her.  Truth be told, if she was looking for anyone but the good Father, she wouldn't have bothered filling out the forms, but he'd always approved of good record keeping and in some odd way it wouldn't have seemed right to go and throw the rules out the window looking for the man who had handed her the book in the first place.
The receptionist looked over the forms and then back up at her.  "This is definitely a Witch's seal." It was true, only a witch could get away with an official seal that read 'Mind your own business' written around the rune for toads. Not that most people got the toad part, but other witches always got a good chuckle out of it.  "I'll requisition those files for you, they should be here in a few hours."
Salvia wasn't going to argue, that really was the fastest they could find it.  Nobody kept a witch waiting longer than they had to. To do so was something between a death wish and admitting to having one of the less tasteful sorts of fetish in a crowded room, and as in either case; you were virtually guaranteed to not talk to people for a while.  But since she would have to wait anyways she drew a book from her satchel and took a place in the three floor waiting room, then quickly muttered a spell to convert the smooth jazz to a much peppier tune as it reached her vicinity, much to the annoyance of the old lady two seats down and slightly less to the annoyance of the nursing mother between them.  The man to her right seemed cheerfully deaf and the hooded figure on the other side of him seemed mildly deceased, paper number still clutched in his hand.

She waited for what seemed to be hours, although that may have been the time distortion field so often projected by the smooth jazz resonating with the uncomfortable seating, a tall man with a short gray beard and  a brown cloak walked up in front of her.
"Miss Hex."
"You seek your Father, the one they call Krell."
"Yes, how did you know?"
"I am the one who helps good-hearted heroes and heroines to find their fathers.  I will teach you the things you will need to know in order to accomplish the task before you, and bring you to the end of this journey."
"Can it wait?  I'm waiting for some files."
"Did..Did you just hear me?  I said I will help you find your Father, why would you wait for files you need in order to find him when I can just lead you to him?"
"Because you're a strange old man in a cloak, and I'm an accomplished witch trying to do her job.  This is an investigation, not an adventure."  She paused and then stated simply. "Besides, you're sing-songy."
And then he did something that no reasonably wise person ever did: he laughed at a witch.
"You think you're too good for a spot of adventure then?  Well then you'll never catch up with Krell."
"What makes you think that?  I've got a very good lead right now you know."
"Because where he's gone is beyond the realms of normal life.  Mere mortals like yourself could scarcely dream of the wonders he's exposed to by every hour.  He has gone beyond space, and his journey has transcended time itself.  Demons have fled before his very eyes and he has dined with the great, and you think you'll find him with files?  Your confidence is reassuring, but your efforts are wasted.  And as for your accomplishments; Ha! Rest on your laurels all you wish, they pale by comparison to those you have yet to perform."
"If you're so smart why don't you just tell me where he is?"
"I never said that."
"But you implied it strongly."
"Did I?"
"He's skiing on Nepalya, but even if you left now you couldn't keep up.  His power outstrips yours as much as mine outstrips that of the collected population of this city, and compared to his companion you and I together are little more than the hum of a gadfly."
"We'll work on your prose later, first, we need to get you a proper weapon."
"You seem like a pistol sort.  Not fond of them myself, lacks a certain..finesse, but hey-ho to each her own.  We'll need it enchanted properly and for that, there's really only one place to go."
"No seriously, what the hell?"
He stopped and she suddenly became aware of the fact that he had lifted her out of her chair and dragged her aboard what appeared to be rather well-lit spacecraft.  She didn't even remember him having touched her.
"My apologies, we're going on an adventure and I'm taking you to see the universe's foremost enchanter so you can stand toe to toe with the forces of evil instead of just being stood on by the forces of evil."
"Who are you? Where am I? And what the hell is going on!"
"My ship, an adventure, and since I haven't introduced myself," He stopped and stuck out a hand.  "You can call me, yes, Hack, you can call me Hack."