" Why didn't you tell me he was coming?"
'I don't know. I didn't want to worry you.'
"Michael! When a threat presents itself you do not ignore it and hope that it chases its own shadow away! Two weeks you've known and I could have been preparing. What is it now.. two days, by your shoddy estimate? They'll take EVERYTHING, Michael." With a slippery mist in her eyes, she mumbled, "They'll even take me."
'Yeah... So. Am I fired?'
Michael looked bored. Lady Volara sat, on the verge of tears, at her desk. Her brows narrowed as fear crystallized into hate. She saw deception behind the man's lackluster expression. Muscles tensing and veins coursing, she rose, with a steady stare fixed upon Michael's face. The fear seeped into him like juice into bread.
"Traitor!" she shouted in a stern and focused burst, "I will not allow you the sacred gift of death among your companions! YOU DIE NOW!!!"
Michael fell out of his chair and ran, making a frenzied dash for the door leading out of the Lady's office. Of course, it was bolted shut, impossible to open. His body slammed up against it with a thubb, and he started banging on the door and walls in a hopeless fury. Volara stepped toward him, pleased at his distress. Her left hand crept up calmly behind his head, and after a moment's pause, she grabbed his skull and crushed it like a cheap melon.
"Asshole," she whispered, "got my hand all bloody."
She turned to retrieve a hand towel from the utility closet. But then she froze, standing perfectly still, drops of blood still trickling down off her arm. Soullivuhn stood in front of her, wearing a sedated half-smile.
She gasped. "Sou--"
'Shh! Call me not by name. Not here.'
He approached her and touched a finger softly against her lips.
"They told me you were coming. Do... do you want to kill me?" she whispered, her eyes finally panning up to meet his perplexing glare.
'No Vola, not this time. Things have changed. I can't expect you to trust me after what happened in Tvet, but... we need you, Volara. The Paragon needs you.'
Her eyes gently danced through Soullivuhn's thoughts, trying to get a reading on his true intentions. All they brought back was confusion, and a strange warmth. She thought of bacon and fried potatoes. But why?
'I have The Box,' he said, penetrating the unusual silence.
Volara looked alarmed. "I should have known. To be playing such dangerous games with space and time... how did you even get here? To the 23rd Sun? I recorded your death personally, Soullivuhn, seventy years ago."
'I am a man of many deaths. But let that not alarm you. My presence in your life is a necessity. Perhaps I am not really here. But you see me. More important still, you hear me. And you can take my words and use them to change the world, if you will follow me.'
"I won't leave my country. But... you must tell me. What is this place you seek to take me to?"
'The place is a time. 1792. Illsbrook.'
"The Paragon Wars. No! Soullivuhn, you cannot tamper with such fragile history!"
'It is out of my control. I have a role to play, and so do you. What you know as the present may never be the same, but it is my great hope that perhaps it could be... better.'
"This is madness," replied Volara in a deep voice, "but you know what? I'm fucking hungry."
"Yeah man let's bounce," replied the Magnificent Moving Box.
Wait... [struck by the sensation that she was now leaving her body, Volara froze up in a state that was unusual, but not altogether uncomfortable. She knew they were doing it. But somehow she didn't care.] The colors and the attributes of being were as they are, and she felt them become what they once had been, on a level of geology coming undone and mountains shrinking back into the land. And this is ok. This is good. There is a feeling of Soullivuhn and the.. shape.. with me. But I am alone.. And the structures, as in a dream, are time.
"And I'm... Im here?"
Drops of blood fell into the sand at her feet.
Soullivuhn lit up with a massive grin. 'Welcome to the Island of Dreams, Volara.'