Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Microstory 1403: Two Against the World

When Escher Bradley first arrived on Durus, he met a few people. They were all time travelers, though, so they didn’t stick around for long. After his first harrowing adventure, his rival went away for a little while, and seemingly left him alone. His battle with that alien enemy resulted in him now possessing an exorbitant amount of temporal energy. He would come to discover that he did not exactly possess any time powers of his own. He could absorb energy that others expelled, and then relocate it somewhere else, but he generally couldn’t control it. If he held it in too long, it could start deteriorating his mind and body, though, so he would always have to get rid of it. In the beginning, the energy itself sustained him, though. He didn’t need to eat or sleep for the next several days. Not knowing how long this would last, he knew he had to find a source of water. He wandered the planet for about a week before he finally found a small pond. He knew the right thing to do would be to boil the water to make it drinkable, but he didn’t have the proper resources, so he just drank it up, and hoped for the best. It was hard to explain, but as he drank, the water seemed to be communicating with the temporal energy. No, they weren’t communicating. They were harmonizing with each other. His body and the pond vibrated in sync, and he could just feel that they were now being drawn towards each other. To see what would happen, he released a small fraction of the power. It suddenly started raining for a few seconds. He released some more, and it rained some more. If this was the only source of water—and there was no way back to Earth—then expanding the source was the best use of his power. He released the rest all at once, and started a downpour...which never stopped. He had just created what the Durune would come to know as Watershed. It would be the only place to get water for the next two hundred plus years. The rain was heavy enough to alert the planet’s only other permanent inhabitant, Savitri. She raced over there as fast as she could, and found Escher walking out of the rain boundary. They were both shocked to see each other, but then Escher’s surprise wore off when he assumed it was merely his enemy, Effigy, who was known to alter her appearance to deceive people. It took Savitri at least two years of proving herself before he seemed satisfied that her presence was not a trick. Nonetheless, all the while, Escher was teaching Savitri everything he knew about everything. He taught her how to speak, and then by drawing in the dirt, how to read and write. He recalled the few lessons he received in elementary school, though most of it wasn’t all that useful here. She taught him survival skills, but he was able to bolster them from his more traditional education. They had about nine years before Effigy showed back up and started giving them trouble.

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