January 6, 2014
Jack sat in the small living room of the lake side house and watched the snow cover the earth in silent white blanket. For once he hadn’t argued when his Dionysian allies had suggested they stay an extra day in the rural outskirts of Concord. It would be good to start their next step at full strength, but he worried they could end up getting snowed in.
This didn’t seem to be a concern with Phillip as he sipped on an ale and channel surfed like a pro. There had been some concern over whose bed Cleo would share or if she’d chose either of theirs and make one of the men sleep on the floor. Jack couldn’t have answered whether he felt disappointed or relieved when she chose her former boyfriend Phillip over him. She was a beautiful woman, but Jack could also use the rest.
The owner, one James McBannon, turned out to be a man of Yig, which had surprised Jack, but he had barely gotten a chance to speak to the man. James had married and chose to leave both the Stalwart life and the city behind. He had only stopped by long enough to let the small group in before rushing back to western Massachusetts to be with his growing family. Even though Jack knew they could use the help, he didn’t have the heart to press the man to risk leaving his family fatherless.
Such thoughts lead him back to the few Stalwarts they had left behind in Boston. Sure, most of them had been given a chance to either flee or join them fighting back, but besides Cleo, none of the others had done either.
Cleo was in the shower, so Jack sat in a large chair that faced the television. He took a long sip off his own ale before asking, “So have you tried to contact the Stalwarts we left behind?”
“Blaze emailed me,” Phillip said without moving his eyes away from the rapidly changing screen. “So I guess he still lives. I suppose we’ll find out how right Lanna and Felix were about them having nothing to fear from this Xemmoni ultimatum.”
“It could be possible that we did enough damage to them that they’re licking their wounds for a few days like us and this storm could help settle things too.”
Phillip looked over and smiled. “We did do a pretty good number on them, huh? What, we waxed about fourteen on those Dark Alliance bastards.”
“I thought it was fifteen,” Jack said.
“You must be counting the Hyades.”
“Well, I did decapitate him.”
“That doesn’t always work, with them,” Phillip said while taking a long pull.
“We’ll see, but what should we be doing now? We can’t stay here forever.”
Phillip looked back at the TV. “I wish we could. This New London Pizza is the best I’ve ever tasted.”
Jack leaned forward. “I think we need to discuss something else.” When Phillip didn’t reply, he went on. “I think we need to figure out why the Xemmoni want Boston and what they intend to do with it.”
“Xemmoni want well… everything, don’t they?”
“Yes, but I have a feeling this is different. Isn’t there some evidence that Darken and bunch of his villains, and even we, are associated with Boston on multiple worlds?”
“I try not to think about those things. The dreams are bad enough.” Phillip looked at his beer, the television, and the falling snow, anywhere but toward Jack.
“Maybe since Boston has been so damaged on this world, Vile is trying to use our Boston to create some effect that could damage multiple worlds. It’s the type of thing he might try to do. And if he does, we would be the weak link letting every other world battling for survival down. If multiple worlds are robbed of their heroes, then it could cost us the whole war.”
Phillip finally looked his way. “You have quite the imagination.”
Cleo walked into the room wearing nothing but a towel and a serious expression. “He does, but the sad thing is… he’s right.”
To be continued next Monday