SECTION 1          CHAPTER 2 - Paradox Under the Ocean
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         The 10th Day of the Month of the Frost Giant, Year 548

                      December 4th, 2012 Earth Time
                                    
               Over 4 Earth years since the story left off...

Years passed calmly for Medievia and all was well, except there was still 
no word from Vryce. Soleil maintained her normal and reliably sunny 
attitude for everyone, everyone but herself. When she was alone she often 
dipped into a deep sadness that she could not shake off. She was now the 
leader of Medievia, and to her surprise she liked being in charge. To that 
end she has maintained a cheerful and bright attitude. Only Marious had 
any inkling that she was miserable, and that was enough. Marious, as it 
turns out, is surprisingly sensitive for an old war wizard.

Marious was not always her close friend. In fact, they rarely spoke until 
Vryce went inside some sort of soul and magic powered nexus near the 
center of the planet. That was four years ago. He then became one with... 
with what? The planet? God? Jakob? She did not know. When she was alone 
and allowing herself to be sad all she could think about was that she 
helped put him there, and now she may never see him again.

Soleil managed to shake off her selfish feelings as she prepared for the 
new day. It is strange to think that when Vryce was around Medievia was 
always changing. There were always challenges and surprises. Since he has 
been gone nothing has happened, hardly anything has changed, and many 
people from Earth have stopped coming to Medievia. The Khrait have not 
attacked with anything other than scout ships. Jakob has been silent. 
Nothing worth noting has happened. The monotony of a stagnant and mundane 
Medievia has felt other-worldly, and not just to her; others have 
commented on it.

Medievia was dying of boredom.

Today would be different. Soleil finished dressing and grabbed her hair 
brush as she walked out of Vryce's cabin and across the simple rustic 
deck. Vryce would often brush her hair here in the mornings. The view on 
top of Mount Vryce cannot be described with words. To say it was stunning 
would be a slap to the face of the creator. Viewing the world from here, 
especially at sunrise, it is a gift from God she thought. The most 
spectacular and radiantly beautiful fantasy scene possible always makes 
her head swim and her back tingle as it took her breath away.

She expertly brushed her hair and watched transfixed as the Medievia sun 
tickled the horizon with its first rays of sunshine, as if the star was 
searching.  Then Soleil full-on beamed a smile and was embraced by the 
sunrise in ways no one could ever fully understand. Even Soleil did not 
know the secret of her existence. She had some sort of magical link with 
all of the stars of the universe. This gave her such great power that she 
has never used it, never even tempted to check it out. It terrified her. 
What if she accidentally turned the stars off? That was one of her most 
terrifying and recurring dreams of late. She missed Vryce. She missed 
distractions. She was not sleeping well.

Today would be a break in her normal schedule of teaching. She is to 
teaching what Vryce is to magic - a master, a master of masters. When she 
gives classes not only do children show up, but so do the other teachers, 
some parents, and often even dragons attend. There would be no class today 
though as she was going to spend the whole day with Marious. She did not 
miss Vryce so much when she was with his old friend. Together they have 
managed Medievia in Vryce's absence, not that there was much to do. 

They were going to try to speak to the Necromancer of Medievia, the 
ghostly spirit of death that comes to collect parts of people's souls as 
it helps them along the path back to life. Vryce has been known to say 
that the Necromancer was possibly as powerful as he was and that 
controlling it may be a mistake. He has also been known to say that the 
Necromancer seemed to like it here, as if it's service to Vryce was some 
sort of vacation from the hell it must have been summoned from.

The strange Necromancer was still doing its spooky duties in Vryce's 
absence. It was thought that when Vryce went missing the Necromancer would 
cause trouble, but it did nothing of the sort. It was just another part of 
the non-changing and stagnant Medievia. 

Many people have sent in ideas about Vryce's predicament, from somehow 
tunneling to the center of the planet, to a thousand-person mass transfer 
spell attempt to get Vryce out. 

There was one idea from Frast that was simple, direct, and instinct told 
her it was 'what Vryce would do'. Frast exemplifies the idea of an 
adventure seeker, a master hero dragon killing serpent hunting legend in 
the making that has mastered being a captain on the open ocean since, 
well, its opening so to speak four years ago.

Frast had the idea that since the Necromancer has not changed, maybe it 
knew of Vryce's status or maybe Vryce is still controlling it, perhaps 
even playing a monthly game of chess. They must somehow be in 
communication.

Soleil just figured it was worth a shot, easier than tunneling down 
thousands of miles to Vryce's nexus. There was something about the idea 
that pulled her in. Perhaps just being able to tell Vryce that she spoke 
to the Necromancer, he would say "You did What!?", but then he would grin 
at her and probably take her in his arms, kiss her, and ... , wow did she 
miss him! 

Soleil felt better as she finished her morning rituals and popped off to 
the Medievia war room. Little did she know that today would start a series 
of events that would change everything forever.

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The impressive Man of War vessel named 'Mister Tea' slashed through the 
waves as it made its way out deep and away from land in search of giant 
sea serpents. Zocuten gripped the wheel as he stood at the helm thinking, 
"this is why I love Medievia, even in boring times it fills you with 
possibilities." Some days he may help slay a dragon and raid its lair, 
other days he may help lead a train of covered wagons trade goods through 
wild lands. Today he is taking his famous ship out to battle sea serpents, 
some as large as 50 nautical miles long. He was around for years before 
sailing on the ocean was possible. That time seems so long ago now. This 
ship itself has killed over 6,000 serpents without sinking while 
collecting nearly a billion fae magic for Medievia. Zocuten smiles, makes 
minor course changes and reflects on his successful month as a captain, 
over 120 million fae magic returned to dock, besting all other captains.

Veyrak Polvorm, a master deckhand, shouts from far out on the deck, "Sea 
termites!". 

Zocuten quickly lashes the helm and heads down below to find the termite 
queen. Allowing her to lay eggs would mean a morning chasing down pesky 
yet dangerous termites that want to chew up his hold. He grins as he 
luckily runs right into the queen without much of a search and kills her 
with his anarchy war mace all while thinking, "I almost wished that was 
harder." Then he revisits a thought, "I wish we could go below the surface 
and take the fight to wherever these monsters come from."

While the problem of floating on the fae ocean was solved, how to breathe 
below is still a mystery. 

No one knows what is down there.

Back at the helm and just as he spots a large violet serpent whale start 
to surface, a deckhand from the crow's nest yells, "Kraken!" 

Zocuten quickly decides to kill the Kraken before ordering the ships guns 
to fire at the serpent. It proves to be a harder opponent than he had 
hoped for but after 10 minutes he slays the giant beast, but only after 
chopping some of its arms off to weaken it. "Now to kill some serpents!", 
Zocuten thinks.

Moments later, just before he made his way back to the helm, a gunner 
yells, "Firesticks!"

Firesticks are man-sized insectoid stick figures that are rippling with 
fae magic. If anyone casts a mana spell around them they explode and fire 
spreads across the ship. Zocuten watches helplessly as the giant sea 
serpent he wanted to kill sinks beneath the waves. Some firesticks run 
past him throwing knives. He expertly dodges them and decides not to give 
chase. These creatures are not very smart and he means to trap them by 
closing all of the hull hatches the next time they head down below, then 
he would go down and show them the meaning of 'legendary hero'.

After the firestick battle below and back at the helm, Zocuten grabs the 
wheel and relaxes, eagerly awaiting the sound of his 37 guns firing at 
giant beasts. And then the deckhand Keynth Radjum shouts "Aquoderms!"

"NO YOU DON'T!" Zocuten shouts. 

"That is it!" he thinks. A man possessed, he magically transforms into 
what he calls his 'goon gear', spells up, and looks out, his eyes a beacon 
of intensity. In one moment he is up on the crow's nest shielding the room 
with a spell. The aquoderms are giant seaworms that he can deal with but 
if one gets up here it will call in reinforcements which could over run 
his ship. The next moment he traps them all down below just as he trapped 
the firesticks.

Zocuten, mad as hell now about a morning filled with battling these silly 
sea creatures that appear from below instead of giant sea serpents, slams 
open the hatch leading below and jumps down, attacking the aquoderms with 
everything he had. They did not know what hit them! Slashing, crunching, 
piercing, he went through them with a battle rage he usually holds back 
for an actual dangerous situation. The last aquoderm was backing up in the 
corner of the mess room. Deckhands scrambled out of the way and past 
Zocuten as he approached the giant worm. He loaded up the mace way over 
his head intending to crack the beast's wormy head apart, and, from above 
a deckhand yells ,"Searams!" 

"AAHHHHHRRRR!!" Zocuten yells and swings down with such force that his 
mace pounds the thing's head flat, like a pancake! He lifts the great mace 
up again intending to make mince meat of the entire animal to blow off his 
steam but stops, looking.  The beast's giant lung, exposed through torn 
flesh, was breathing. He snatched a knife from the deck tools and detached 
the lung. It was still breathing. He leaned in and sniffed. The thing's 
exhale seemed clean enough, almost minty. Searams rammed the ship hard on 
the larboard side and the ship rocked back and forth but Zocuten barely 
noticed. He looked like a man in deep thought.

The deckhand to his left yells, "Sea termites!"

"@*@!& !*@@!1 !!!", he shouts to no one and everyone.  Grabbing the 
aquoderm lung he casts a 'Breathe Water' spell upon it and himself. The 
spell would go through this lung and then to his lung, possibly allowing 
him to breathe air below the fae ocean. Standing on deck he breathed 
deeply through the spell. "So far so good,. he thinks. He climbs up to the 
crow's nest many meters above and stands there, not caring about the 
termite queen laying eggs, or the searams ramming his beloved ship. He 
looks down, peering below the surface and sees what everyone always sees, 
nothing, nothing at all. Searams ram the ship's stern quarters, deckhands 
yell about termites, and Zocuten does one of the most stupid, brave, and 
reckless things of his life, he jumps and dives off his ship. From so high 
up he was like a missile when he hit the water and was a dozen meters 
below before he got his bearings. Looking up at the bottom of his ship way 
above, he gives it a try and takes a deep breath.

                       
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Marious smiles as Soleil appears in his war room on a ray of light. She 
looks around at the party Marious put together for their plan with the 
Necromancer. Ontarious was a legendary mage and an old friend of Vryce's, 
one of the few people to actually know Vryce well enough to call him a 
friend. Standing next to him was Liono, also a legendary mage and perhaps 
the most respected and well-known of heroes today. Finally Wellz stood 
next to Marious. He is famous, as well as being infamous, a deadly killer 
who keeps a kill ledger recording all of his battles. This crew would 
fight to the death for Soleil, she knew that, but did they know what they 
were getting into?

Soleil leaned forward and gave her old friend Ontarious a hug, as best as 
she could anyway, he is built like a bear, then nodded at Liono and Wellz 
as she said, "Thank you for coming. You were hand-picked to help us today 
as we attempt to speak to Vryce's Necromancer." 

Ontarious just looked down at her staring and pondering what he thought 
she just said. Liono and Wellz looked at each other and shared the same 
surprised look, until a grin started spreading across Wellz's face.

Marious's cold blue eyes shimmered as he said, "We mean to do more than 
that. We mean to trick him with a mind reading spell!"

Ontarious continued to stare but now his mouth was slightly ajar. Liono 
looked at Marious as if he just said they were to attack Zeksagmak the 
un-killable dragon. Wellz just grinned even more than before.

Soleil spoke up, "This was Frast's idea and I agree. With Vryce gone the 
Necromancer has continued to do his bidding, collecting parts of souls, so 
why not ask him why he continues?"

Ontarious chimed in carefully, "Has the Necromancer ever actually talked 
to anyone except Vryce?". Soleil and Marious shook their head .no. as one.

Liono added, "What if the Necromancer does not know Vryce is gone?", he 
looked at the others and continued, "What if we tell him and he realizes 
he is no longer under Vryce's control?"

Marious nodded, and Soleil said, "Marious and I feel that the Necromancer 
is aware of everything. Vryce once said that the Necromancer, because of 
its soul collecting, would always know everything about everyone, and that 
he felt the Necromancer wanted to be here." Marious continued for her, "It 
is worth the risk. Vryce is merged with, with, the planet's spirit, God?, 
with something important... but he is gone. Gone, or trapped! The 
Necromancer is still here and doing Vryce's bidding, that must mean 
something."

"If the Necromancer does care about Medievia as Vryce believes, then I 
think the Necromancer will speak to me", Soleil said to the men in the 
room. "I will do the speaking. You will be there for support but also to 
try to read its mind."

Marious quickly tutored the three heroes in a little known ancient mind 
reading spell he learned when he was a young mage with more power than 
intelligence enough to use it. Little did he know then that three people 
were needed and otherwise the target would be able to read his mind 
instead. He just wanted to know if the fine figured lass was interested in 
him, luckily though, Marreeq, after reading his mind and intentions, was 
more than willing to accommodate him in all of his ... adventures that 
summer. 

He smartly decided the spell was too dangerous and never used it again. 
Now on Medievia hundreds of years later it is somehow OK to try it on 
Vryce's captured Necromancer, the most powerful and dangerous creature on 
the planet. Vryce would approve. Too dangerous for reading the mind of a 
beautiful young woman, but OK to read the mind of the master of death.

Marious finished explaining the plan and walked over to Ontarious, Liono, 
and Wellz and said, "So which one of you wants to die?" Ontarious, Liono, 
and Wellz all raised their hands like grinning school children.

Liono stepped forward past Marious and bowed to Soleil saying, "It would 
be an honor if it were you to kill me my lady. I know of no one you have 
killed so I would like to be the first!" Wellz jumped forward and stood 
next to Liono smiling at Soleil but with a bit of a evil in his grin and 
said, "Me too!" Ontarious stepped between Soleil and the knuckle heads and 
said with a bit of menace that echoed back from the walls, "Show respect!"

Marious shrugged to Soleil and she laughed and said, "Why not? I can kill, 
I think, but Ontarious should be first. Because he is my old dear friend I 
will kill him first!" Ontarious turned around, surprised and a bit afraid.  
Before he could have another thought Soleil made an almost unperceivable 
gesture with her eyes and a ray of light brighter than the sun instantly 
burned the three heroes into three clouds of ash.

Marious cackled with laughter, and Soleil laughed as well. That was fun! 
Neither of them have ever seen heroes killed quite so... instantly, and 
completely! You would have to see faster than the speed of light to see 
that Ontarious was indeed completely turned to ash before anything 
happened to the others.

The reliable Necromancer appears as they hoped and leans down to do its 
work, poking the 3 piles of ash on the floor with its staff. Pleased with 
the results, he opens a small blue bottle and proceeds with a chant that 
makes Soleil's hair stand on end. The ash twists and turns and rises off 
the ground. Finally, with a whoosh, something is sucked from the ash piles 
and into the Necromancer's bottle. 

Just then, as if in on their plan, the creepy Necromancer looks up and 
directly at Soleil. Ontarious, Wellz, and Liono suddenly pop into 
existence as ugly undead corpses as expected. 

Soleil, always staring at the Necromancer, quickly restores the men to 
their normal bodies. The Necromancer looks around at the heroes, looks at 
Marious, back at Soleil, and says with its tortured voice, "Where is 
Vryce?"
Section 2

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