Chapter One Hundred: Epilogue

James was behind Irian to catch him when he fell.  Thor limped up carrying Hariel, who still breathed.  Thor didn’t look too good, though.  Ssanyu helped him lay Hariel on the ground beside Irian.  Irian was still conscious, though.  From the smoke cloud, Ouray and Musashi hobbled into the makeshift circle.  Musashi leaned on a stick he had found.  Ouray gazed out from under a nasty cut on the forehead.  His left eye was swelling shut. 

As the dust settled, a few people filtered back to the small group there on the battlefield.  No more than twenty total walked into that circle-less than ten percent of their landing force.  Most were in rather rough shape.  Irian was already struggling to sit up by the time the last made it into the ring.  He tried to prop himself up on his arms, but the joint on his left wrist gave out and the hand fell off.  He toppled back to the ground laughing.  James supported his shoulders, and he finally made it to sitting.  He picked up his broken hand and stared at it for a moment.

“Are you OK, Irian?  Edward was always a rough customer, but I have no idea what he’s done to himself.  We have real worries.”

Irian nodded.  His mouth felt like it was full of dust.  He couldn’t speak.

“Are you alright, Irian?  You could say something…”  James was already checking Hariel’s vitals with his arm readouts.  He was injured but stable.  Thor worried him, but he knew a few tricks…

“I think I may have messed up my hand.”

The little group laughed.  On a day like today, they needed a reason to.

“So what now?”

Irian straightened up.  “I’m off to Lomond, to see my bonnie wife and most likely by then my babies.  You can come with me if you want.  I’m not on the water, James, before you tell me what to do.  If you want to come, let’s go.  I have the feeling it’ll take me a while.”

Irian staggered to his feet  and started trudging.  He walked very slowly, as if his whole body were in pain.  Ouray shouted after him.

“Are you going to just walk?”

“I don’t see any vehicles around here.  I took care of them.”

“I thought that was Musashi-“

“I thought it was you.”

“Follow me if you want.  We’ve got a good few hours before dark.”

Somewhere else, Namid was awakened by kicking in her belly.  She scooped up Cairbre and hugged him tight.

“I hope Irian’s not done something stupid.  And I hope I see him soon.”

“Brawk!”

 

Here ends Fatal Optimization, whose story has grown so much it cannot be contained in one novel.  I promise you, I will be back soon-I’ve already got some great ideas.  Also, I still owe a lot of explanations.  I can handle one of those right now.  As you can tell, this is alternative history.  If something seems familiar, well, across the multiverse a lot of strange things are said, and who knows where some of the people that entertain us got their ideas from.  A lot of geography may seem compressed, or it may sound like national borders got blurred.  They did.  Some of it is the learning I did over the time that I’ve been writing, but a lot of it has to do with ideas of what would have happened without the shadow of British imperialism.  I’m telling the story here.  But at the end of the day, it’s just that, and if you don’t like it then find something you do enjoy, but please read.  Something besides the comics. 

To the steadfast readers, thank you.  I’m preparing to gather up these chapters, edit and expand them, and make an attempt to publish them in a format handy for swatting spiders.  They were all published as soon as they were written, and while the sense of time is intentionally skewed, I think a few things need to be fixed.  Sit tight, I’m not done yet.

If you’re still reading, go find some ice cream or something, it’ll be a bit before book two, Athenry begins.  I may have a short story or two for everyone as well. 

Goodnight everybody.  I hope you enjoy reading half as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

 

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Published in: on October 21, 2012 at 1:55 am  Leave a Comment  

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