Fiction 4

Fiction 4
Looking for Group Therapy

Richard Hehemann | 19 May 2009 13:42
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"Zounds, man, what the barbarian sayeth doth be the soul of truth. This lookest to be the spirit and image of mine home, and many faces be familiar, but thine words be uncouth, as the screeching from an untun'd viol plucked upon by an insolent child."

Graylock shrugged. Brandic noticed that the rest of the group was listening intently to their exchange while Dr. Andophilus stayed silent. Graylock had mentioned something about this being "free-form therapy," whatever that meant.

"They did something to Owington, man. The Controllers." It was the angry bard again. "They messed him up, did something to his head. They'll do all of us like that sooner or later."

"Aw, come on, Tychin. They aren't all that bad. Owington must have just gotten hit with a few too many Curses of Confundment," spoke another mage. This one looked truly powerful. His clothing was of the finest weave, and mystic runes danced across the fabric in glowing patterns; there for a moment, then gone the next. Lightning crackled faintly around the hem of his robes. Tucked into the crook of his arm was a carved staff, topped by a blue crystal that pulsed like a primordial heartbeat.

"'Not that bad?' You're fooling yourself, man!"

"Now Tychin," the doctor gently admonished, "is that how we validate each others' feelings in this room?"

Tychin looked towards the floor, mumbled something inaudible, then swallowed hard and looked at the mage. "I have some problems with what you said just now, Glomerulus. How do you feel that the Controllers are not all that bad?"

"Well, I did get this staff." As he held it aloft, Brandic could feel the hairs on his arms stand up. "I'm more powerful than ever before."

"Oh, sure," said Tychin. "Last week you hated the Controllers as much as I do. You get one stinking equipment upgrade, and now they aren't so bad?" He pointed an accusatory finger at the staff and asked, "Exactly how many times did you die to get that?"

Glomerulus lowered the glowing wood and stared toward the ground. "Seventeen." He forced a smile and glanced from person to person. "I got better, though."

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"Yeah, right," said Tychin. "And next week, you'll be back in the same cave, killing the same monsters that won't stay dead. And maybe you'll only die 14 times and get a new hat. And then you'll do the same thing again the next week, and the next. Where does it all end, man, where does it-"

Tychin went rigid. "Aw, not now, son of a-" His expression turned blank.

"Tychin has entered the realm!" boomed a ghostly voice. The bard looked around the room, seeming not to recognize anyone sitting there. Then he turned and ran out the door. Everyone sat in uncomfortable silence for a few moments, knowing full well they, too, could be Controlled at any moment.

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