The tale of Kicktraq, the insane Mathamancer
(Part 2 of 6)
“I want to try something different.”
Laying on his bed in the half-darkness for some time now, thinking, Kicktraq was almost caught by surprise by his very own words.
The young girl besides him stirred and yawned. “Oh Traq baby, are you suuure? With so many different things we already tried tonight, I feel like, totally spent.”
He couldn’t help but chuckle. It was exactly what the treasury would be saying now, if it only could talk. Just a few hours ago they were at yet one more massive, raging victory party at the Stratton-Oakmont Towers. Enron’s parties were legendary, and quite literally at that. Stories were told in Erfworld about their parties, the excesses, the absolutely obscene amount of money they threw at them. (Sometimes also quite literally.) There were occasions they managed to negotiate otherwise impossible alliances just by adding an exclusive invitation as part of the deal. And who could possibly say it was all for waste? Loyalty in Enron was unmatched: ever since the side was started, not a single unit had ever turned. They were all as fiercely dedicated to battle and conquest as they were to celebration on the spoilers of war. That was Enron’s motto, the secret of their success: fight hard, party harder. And also... you have to spend schmuckers to make schmuckers.
Right now, though, Kicktraq’s mind was far away from all that.
“No no, I mean... I’ve been thinking... I’ve been a Dutiful caster for as long as I remember. Working my spells, crunching the Numbers when I’m needed… Nothing out of the ordinary. I’ve been happy with that, and well rewarded by Enron, all right. But now… now I think I’d like to make some difference. Distinguish myself in the eyes of the Titans. Come up with some kind of... truly original idea.”
She threw him a naughty giggle. “I can come up with that. So, what, like... I know! A game? For two sides? A battle where both come out on top? A win-win?”
He laughed. “No, nothing like that. Although….” He reached for his bedside table and fumbled for the book he had been reading eagerly for five turns now. “See, the fellow who wrote this book. What was his name again… Curtish? Crushaw?” He finally made out the name in the dark. “Oh, right. Lord Crush.”
“Hmm, I kinda like the name.” She sat upright and threw her arms around Kicktraq’s chest. He held her tight. She smelled good.
“See, this Warlord wrote about multi-side long-term alliances. Now that’s something Overlord Belfort would never go along with, but that’s not the point. The point is: this Crush fellow was a thinker. A visionaire. He didn’t just did his Duty, performed like his Ruler and the Titans expected him to. He tried to see beyond the Signamancy of stuff. I mean, look at Growingood for instance. He’s a fine Moneymancer -- and friend -- but when I ask him the simplest of questions about his discipline, he’s just happy with I don’t know.”
She pouted, playfully. “Hey, I’m happy with I don’t know, you know.”
He laughed again. “Yes, I do know.” He liked the way she made him feel. “He is happy because his Moneymancy works, but this Lord Crush wanted more. He wanted to know why things worked. How. He had a method, he describes it in his book... it was nothing like Balderblack’s so-called methods, no. This Crush read hundreds of accounts on battles, made notes, compared, drew conclusions. He experimented. He came up with theories. Sometimes he even tested them in the field. And in the end, he led several sides to victory thanks to the unconventional knowledge he acquired. Now I know of some studious casters in the Magic Kingdom, but I’ve never heard of anyone on Erf doing things the way Crush did. I don’t think we even have a word for that.”
Kicktraq noticed the girl was very quiet, staring at him with her big blue eyes, listening intently, not moving a muscle. It was only then he realized how passionate he sounded, talking about these things. He couldn’t remember the last time he felt like that about anything.
“I… want to do that, too. With my discipline. Mathamancy. I want to know. To understand. And when I do, I want to come up with something… something nobody has ever thought of. Something unique. Something new.”
She let go of him and cracked a smirk. “So that’s what you meant, Mr. Want-to-try-something-different. And here was little me, all awake and perky again, ready to have some more fun. Guess girls can’t just wanna have anymore.”
Her naked body was fully visible now in the moonlight that came through the window, and he stared at her. No matter how many times he did, he always went breathless again. She wasn’t only stunningly beautiful, slender, with her long legs and short golden hair. Also, there was a certain quality about this girl… She was young. Really young. It wasn’t really a meaningful word in Erf, but Kicktraq could feel -- in an instinctive, unexplicable way -- that she was just barely past some point where doing what they were doing would be a terrible offense against the Titans, and if she was any younger they would smite him terribly because of that.
And she enjoyed it.
"Traq, my darlin'? What about this. I'll help ya test any little theories of yours in the battlefield…"
She rolled over him swiftly and pinned his elbows with her knees.
Kicktraq looked up, warily. "Cyrey--"
"... if you'll test me here right now a few little theories of my own", said with a mischievous smile the Chief Warlady DeMillus.
“Run this same calculation ten times in a row. Go.”