The Long Chron – Online Edition – Chapter Thirty-Eight

I open my eyes and see we are, once again, on the steps of the cathedral.  A quick look shows me scaffolding lining the sides of the building and workmen seem to be spread all around it, crafting the work of art which will, at some point, become home to the man I just managed to save from death, mere hours after helping kill him.

I stand, only to realize my hand is still bound to Griff’s.  Griff is still connected to The Wizard as well.  My partner rubs his eyes as he attempts to stand, made difficult by The Wizard, who is curled up into a ball, cringing in fear.

Griff kicks him in the ribs and angrily commands, “Get up!”

The Wizard looks up to find we are, outside of a few relatively minor burns and singed clothing, apparently unharmed.  Before getting to his feet, he looks down at himself. The only damage I can see is a large hole burned into the bottom of his long tunic.

He jumps to his feet, holding the pendant in his hands in amazement.  “It worked!” he screams in excitement.

“I’ll take that!” Griff says, attempting to grab the device out of The Wizard’s hand, finding his other hand is still attached to me, and therefore not moving as easily as he had expected.

The Wizard laughs.

“What’s so funny?” Griff scowls.

“Don’t you see?” The Wizard giggles.  “We won!  We got away from the fire!  We’re not dead!”

“Yeah, great, we’re alive.  Now, if only we could get rid of you, my life would be fantastic.”

“Oh, that’s simple,” The Wizard smiles.  “I know a blacksmith not too far from here.  Follow me!”

He pulls us out of the cathedral square and into the marketplace, dragging Griff behind due to his act of passive resistance.

“This isn’t right,” he says, entering the marketplace which now only consists of three small buildings, each one in a different state of construction.  He looks around in circles, confused.

“What’s wrong?” Griff smirks.

The Wizard finally stops his wild-eyed searching and stares at the top of the cathedral.  “How is this possible?” he asks.

“That’s kind of a hard question to answer,” I reply.  “I mean, I don’t know what your concept of time is, but basically—“

“Jeez, you don’t need to explain anything to this jerk,” Griff cuts me off.

“I’m not quite certain why you harbor such animosity toward me,” The Wizard states calmly.  “However, I do believe I see some tools we might be able to use to break these bonds just over there,” he says, pulling us along behind him once again.

On the ground nearby, sitting on a scaffold, is a pick.  The Wizard lifts it and bounces it in his hands a few times, testing its weight, before finally placing his other hand on the ground, Griff’s beside it.  He brings the pick into the air above him.

“What the hell?” Griff screams as the pick flies down at his left hand.

Chink, The Wizard jumps up, grins at us, and bolts off.

“What the hell?” Griff repeats.

“Griff, the pendant!” I scream, running after The Wizard, but being held back by my slow-to-respond partner.  “Come on!”

“Crap!” Griff screams.  He jumps to his feet and we awkwardly sprint after the man.

“We can’t let him leave with the pendant.  Who knows what trouble he’ll be able to cause now that he knows what it can do?”

“I think we already know that, Chelle,” Griff says, stopping in place as it become clear we’ve lost him.

“But that’s even more reason for us to go after him,” I yell, pulling to get him to continue moving forward, the metal shackle digging against my skin.

“Stop,” Griff says dejectedly.  “He’s gone.  Let’s just go get ourselves disconnected.”

“But,” I stammer, “but, we could—“

“No, we can’t.  Everything that happened has already been done.”

“What?” I ask.

“I’m saying, it already happened, right?  The whole Wizard takes over the city of York thing?  We can’t really change that, can we?”

“Can’t we?”

“I don’t think so, kid.  After all, we are the reason he’s alive to live another day, right?  If we hadn’t come back in time with a dead version of him at our feet, he would have just died in that dungeon like normal, right?  I think this was all supposed to happen.”

“That sounds an awful lot like confusing time travel talk to me,” I say with a grim smirk.

“I’ve already killed the guy once.  I’m pretty sure it’s impossible for me to do it again.  Now, let’s work on getting these handcuffs off and figure out a way to get back home.”

“But—“

“No buts, kid.  Come on.”

Almost in a daze, I allow Griff to place my hand on the ground as he swings the pick at it wildly.  I am only vaguely aware of him missing three times, narrowing avoiding my own hand, before finally making contact with the metal chain holding us together.  I awake to the chink as my hand feels freed.

I instinctually rub at my wrist, noticing that the band of the bond is still wrapped around me.  I look to Griff, “So, what are we gonna do about the cuff?  You finally going to teach me your trick for breaking out of them?”

“Sorry kid, the only way you’re going to be able to do that on these things is to break your wrists.  They ain’t got the give of your standard handcuffs. And no lock neither.  I’m guessing they didn’t think they’d have to worry about being gentle when they removed them from our crispy bodies.”

“But The Wizard—“

“Musta’ broke his wrist, kid.  Only answer I’ve got.”

“We’re going to have to do something about them.  I can’t imagine we’re going to get too far without people noticing.”

“That depends,” Griff states as he looks to the scenery around him, “on whether they had handcuffs like this back in time so far.”

“What do you mean?”

“Didn’t you notice?  They’re still building that church.  It was looking pretty old when we first came around here.  We could be over a hundred years before Uthyr is even born.”

“I’d be willing to guess they still know prisoner’s bonds,” I answer.  “But that is a good question.  This place doesn’t look like it’s been around for too long.

“Seems like we keep going back in time every time we use that stupid time piece of yours,” Griff scowls.  “I’m beginning to think it’s probably not the way to get back to our time.”

“Or maybe we’re just using it wrong to get to the future?”

“Either way, I’m not sure I want to go back in time any further.  Let’s keep from using it until we figure out what we’re doing wrong.”

I open the clasp on the pendant around my neck and see the clock has begun working again and the clock face is pulled out of its holding area, apparently reset for travel once again.  “Okay, but just so you know, it looks like that trip reset our sphere.”

“Cool.  Just don’t let that Wizard freak know that.  I’m starved.  What do you think the gruel situation around here is?”

“You and your stupid gruel,” I scoff. He doesn’t hear me.  He’s already sniffing the air as he walks away.  I decide I had better follow and not lose him.

Go to Chapter Thirty-Nine

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