A Psychic Revelation
by: Ken Williams
Hydrops, Moss, Ivy, and Hyran were in the forest, not far from the ancient Fountain of Life. They tended to meet there. Hydrops loved it there. He could feel their god resting peacefully deep within the depths. For a while, everyone split off and had their own fun. Hyran and Ivy went with each other. Hyran could pull the long vines that went down to her mid-thigh and run, and Ivy would chase him. He’d let her catch him and then he’d laugh and jokingly say, “That’s what you get for wearing it loose and not cutting it.”
Moss was practicing as always. She always liked to keep her spearfighting form up to par. Hydrops saw her move with the spear and thought it was like a dance, that no one else could match. As beautiful as the dance was, it had impaled many Atular and Pyrosians, and even a Hydrosian, Lord Malfus Stone.
Malfus had forbade her from serving in the Hydrosian military. Her response was to challenge him to a duel. If she won, she could join, if he won, she could not. Hydrops remembered the fight as if it were yesterday. Her dance wasn’t as refined, but it was just as deadly. She came out onto the field with nothing but some meager clothes and a metal headband, while Malfus wore the Stone family armor. Each family had their own sets of armor. It was useless in combat save for the helmet. It was really about status. The fight was rather short. Moss was quicker than Malfus by far and managed to knock the helmet off his head and land a killing blow. Hydrops had been shocked when Malfus Stone’s nucleus was pierced. Laws older than gods had forbidden killing family members. Duels tended to be to the death, but a yield was always expected when family was involved.
Hydrops called everyone to sit down so they could go over some business before he went to his telekinesis master, Seluin, for the last of his training. He only had one thing that he couldn’t control yet: energy. Many Hydrosian telekinetics bent energy in the form of electricity, as their neural cords already used it, but Hydrops always hated electricity. He had felt its sting firsthand at the hand of the Purple Wave. Mueyar and Tinit Tinit loved watching him struggle against the wires.
“Hydrops, are you alright?”, Hyran Deep asked.
Hydrops snapped out of his flashback, “Yeah, I’m fine.”
He turned to his friends and sat down.
“Everyone, as we all know, the war in Pyros is essentially over. Lord Flagrane is continuing his revolution and Pyros is in civil war. I’ve seen visions of the country in ruin, its people nearly wiped out.”
Hyran spoke up, “We must intervene then! I understand that our people do not want to continue this war, but we shouldn’t allow them to be destroyed because of their political squabbles.”
Hydrops sighed, “If it was only that easy. I did not foresee them destroying themselves. I foresaw the Black Atular destroying them. We can’t protect them without going to war with them.”
Moss stood up, “Then we’ll go to war! Pay Mrdinar back for his betrayal on Pyros.”’
Hydrops raised a hand calmly.
“Patience, Moss. I will have my revenge on Mrdinar. It has only begun. When Nima attacked me, the bullet she fired pierced a psychic inhibitor. It latched onto her and is causing her life to decay. Soon she will be dead. If I so choose, I can establish a psychic connection with her corpse and exact my revenge through her shell.”
Hyran gaped, “You…you can’t be serious. By all means, kill her. She deserves it. But don’t use her to kill Glarigas. Let the dead be dead.”
“As much as I hate to say it, this may be our best option. C’mon, we all know that Mrdinar Glarigas is an idiot and a mad dog. He needs to go. If we send an assassin, though, he has five siblings. We can’t kill them all, and the Black Atular will not abide the murder of their leader, even if he’s horrible. If Nima’s corpse kills him, then a necromancer will be blamed. The Kakurl will be at risk more than anyone.”
Moss smiled, “If the Black Atular war with the Kakurl and Pyrosians at the same time, they will be vulnerable. We can strike easily.”
Hydrops put his hand up again, “No, we will not make war with the Black Atular. There is no need. Even if the rumors are true about demons in the north, we will not attack until we are threatened.”
“That’s it?”, Moss protested, “We just wait to be attacked?”
“Not at all, I do intend to take action against a few wild cards that may either join the Black Atular, or rebelling corporates.”
Hydrops had predicted the corporate leaders rebelling since he started reforming the military. Ever since his great-grandfather, King Carel Watr, had outlawed Hydrosians from growing food on their property, corporate entities grew unimaginably large in Hydros and held massive standing in Hydrosian government. The 30th century had almost been defined by that corruption. Hydrops the Second meant for the 31st century to be defined by something greater: a world of peace and freedom.
“Moss,” Hydrops started, “I want you to lead a strike on the Fields of Fire. It may anger Lord Flagrane for us to attack Pyrosian mercs, but lobbyists from the Macrogardens have already gotten in touch and are working on a contract.”
“You know that for sure?” Moss asked,.
“A vision told me”, Hydrops then turned to Ivy, “And I have foreseen Ommon Glarigas signing a contract with the Blind Soldiers. Destroy them and gather any evidence we can use of the contract. If we can get that evidence, our attack will seem justified.”
Ivy nodded. She had a grudge against the Blind Soldiers. During the Hydrosian Civil War, her father, Tourgel Watr, had hired them to defend their home. The revolutionaries had broken their defense and they defected, looting the Citadel before leaving her family for dead. She was the only one who escaped, with help from Hydrops. He had a vision that she was in danger and quickly rushed to lead her to the system of catacombs under Hydros. The catacombs had been lost to history, unused since the days of the Hydrosian Revolution, which had happened three thousand years ago.
Hyran crossed his arms, “Do I have a job to do?”
Hydrops smiled, “Yes, but I need you two here for it. My father intends to block the execution of my order to begin the elections next year. I intend to bring my power base to the Citadel and perform a coup if need be.”
Moss gaped, “Will it come to that?”
Hydrops could tell she didn’t think he had it in him to kill a family member.
Hyran pushed her, “Hydrops will do whatever he needs to do. Don’t interrupt him.”
Hydrops stood up and walked away from the Fountain, back to Hydros.
“I must go to my lesson. Good luck to you all. You know your duty.”
Hydrops went to the Psychic Academy in Hydros City, a giant metal dome for a building. He went down two floors to Master Seluin’s chamber. He was waiting for his student, most likely his greatest, not that it mattered. Hydrops sat down on the metal floor in front of his master. It felt like the prison he was in when the Purple Wave got him. Master Seluin stood up. He was a man of fifty years, still in his prime. Hydrosians didn’t show much aging until they were eighty or so. Hydrops’ telepathy master, Hulson, was already two hundred years old and was going to Quarantine Island after Hydrops II’s “graduation” from the Psychic Academy. Seluin began to lecture.
“Now, Hydrops, is the moment of truth for one of the most basic psychic abilities, which you seem to be unable to master, the manipulation of energy, finally arrived. It is shameful that you are so far along in everything else, but cannot produce a single bolt of electricity. That is why for this exercise, you will be redirecting electricity. Electricity running through you. There is a seat just a few feet behind you. We will start there.”
Hydrops froze, his eyes wide in terror as he shot up and backed away. The door then began to crackle with electricity. He was trapped. He mustered his courage and sat in Seluin’s electric chair. Wires pierced the film of his outer layer and went an inch in. Seluin put on arm restraints so Hydrops could not end the test early.
Hydrops let out a deep breath before Seluin turned the machine on. Instantly, Hydrops was filled with agony. It was like four years ago when the damned rebels had taken him prisoner. He had been innocent and frightened and they captured him. They tortured him with an electric chair just like this one. He could see Mueyar Guin’s smirk on Seluin’s body. If only Tinit Tinit was there too, Hydrops would fry them both. In anger, the electricity bolted through his fingers at Master Seluin. He held the electricity, forming it into a ball of energy. It only made Hydrops angrier. He lifted his hands and more electricity flew, after a while it was clear Hydrops was generating most of it himself. Seluin’s concentration over his deflection broke and the electricity surged through him. He screamed louder than Hydrops had.
“How dare you torture a defenseless boy, you evil son of a bitch!”, Hydrops exclaimed, still seeing Mueyar’s squat face.
Hydrops sprang up, breaking free of his confines and sighing heavily, calming down. The electricity subsized and Hydrops looked at Master Seluin clearly. There was nothing but a puddle of water and a grey ball. That must have been what Hydrops looked like after his sessions in the electric chair. The only difference was there was no sign of life in Seluin’s nucleus. He was dead. Hydrops stared at what he did until another of the masters walked in. The master shuffled Hydrops out so that the psychics could see to their dead member.
Hydrops was brought before his father, the King, later that night. King Hydrops I had barely left the Sea Citadel since the Hydrosian Civil War. He and Queen Blossom took to ruling form “safety”, despite their eldest son, who was the second-greatest fighter in Hydros and intended to take the throne and reform the nation, was living in the Citadel with them.
Hydrops I spoke with a voice more commanding than his position should have allowed.
“I cannot believe that you murdered the great Master Seluin.”
The High Landsponge flared in anger, “He electrocuted me! He got what he deserved. No Hydrosian deserves that treatment!”
The King sighed, “Right now, his son is calling for your head. ‘A life for a life’ he says. How could you do something this stupid?”
“I didn’t have control. I had electricity flowing through me from an electric chair. He expected he could control and dissipate it. He was wrong. This plea for vengeance won’t bring him back and will set back our kingdom.”
“MY kingdom,” the king protested, “I am not dead yet, boy. And when I am, you’ll be the sorriest king yet. You don’t know the first thing about ruling.”
Hydrops looked his father straight in the eyes.
“That’s where you’re wrong, my King. I know more about ruling than you have, do, or ever will. Almost all of the nation supports me, except for Lord Melon’s supporters, which I suspect you to be involved in. ‘Finish the job’, huh? I always knew you were low, but advocating the genocide of the Pyrosians and the humans?”
Hydrops the First laughed, “Well, I didn’t give him the idea for that, but you must know that both the Pyrosians and humans were mistakes. They should be rectified.”
He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Since the war was over, the Pyrosians were no threat, and even a potential trade partner and ally. The humans were too fond of their nuclear weapons, but not evil. He stood up and drew his blade.
“This is your last warning, father. Your time is over. Get out of the way or you will be destroyed.”