Monday, July 13, 2020

Microstory 1406: Triumph of the Triumvirate

Only weeks after Rothko arrived on Durus, Effigy came back, hoping to use a different tactic to get what she wanted. She had had just about enough of Escher getting in the way of her plans to bring all of her people into this universe, and she thought she finally had an advantage over him. On the outside, Rothko was a really good person. He was compassionate, thoughtful, and ready to help anyone who crossed his path, whether he knew them or not. Yet he carried a darkness inside of him that he was only beginning to discover, and being a master manipulator, Effigy believed she could exploit these two sides of him at the same time. She could turn him over to her side, both by appealing to his instinct to be helpful and understanding, and to his inner demons. She began to communicate with him when he was apart from the other two. She didn’t whisper in his ear, or claim that his friends weren’t good for him. She didn’t even charge him to keep their new relationship a secret. She just became friends with him, and taught him how to use his time powers, and let him decide for himself whether he was going to reveal the truth to the rest of the Triumvirate. Most choosing ones develop an instinct for their abilities. They don’t know exactly how they work, but they know how to use them, just like a baby will learn to walk, pretty much no matter what, even if you try to teach them not to. Rothko, however, was particularly unskilled with his, and he needed Effigy’s help. He was a lot smarter than she gave him credit for, though. He could see what she was trying to do to him, and as long as he stayed grounded, he felt he could overcome any psychological poison she tried to use on him. He let her keep thinking that they were becoming real friends, but it was all just an act, so he could learn from her. He recognized that she was his best hope of figuring out how to use his gifts. He proved his loyalty months later; to himself, to his friends, and to Effigy. One thing he had always wanted to do was restore Escher’s hand. Now, the range of his powers was limited. While it was indeed called reality-warping, it didn’t give him free reign over the whole universe. It was localized. He could only make small changes, and only within the immediate area. He was disrupting physics, but not quite breaking any laws. The energy he used had to come from somewhere, and a lot of his work were more illusions than real alterations. There was a way, however, for him to give Escher his hand back. There was a reality out there where Escher didn’t lose his hand at all. This reality was unstable, and short-lived, but that didn’t matter when it came to  time travel. He could still access that timeline, and take from it what he needed. He stitched events from this microreality into the real one, and returned the hand, as if it had never been removed at all. This was great; the Triumvirate had beaten Effigy yet again, and she was furious, because it meant she hadn’t really found a weakness at all. Sadly, their new, happy, and intact life together was not destined to last forever. In utilizing his powers in this way, Rothko had unwittingly opened the world up to much larger changes in the future, and none of them would prove to be powerful enough to stop what was coming.

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