Author notes at the bottom. Copyright laws can be found in the normal places, et cetera, et cetera. You'll know when I actually /do/ own something.
Untitled story, code name "Zero Day"
Written by: Trey Miller
"My name is Louise Francoise le Blanc de la Valliere. Pentagon of the five elements, heed my summoning... and bring forth my familiar!"
The completion of ritual magic exploded within the circle; a burst of water vapor its component gasses, charged with arcane energy exuded from within, whipping and rolling out by means of expanding winds. A dulled thump of something hitting the ground came from within, and from without, a gasp from the surrounding mages. She, Louise, held her breath in anticipation while mentally chanting, 'please don't fail, please don't fail, please don't fail.'
"Did she actually do it?"
"Whatever it is, it's big! Griffin or bugbear big!"
From within, there was the sound of cloth rustling before the swirl of material waved the standing cloud from the circle. Within, a tall man finished shrugging into a well worn leather longcoat. His face, tilted down, was covered completely by a wide brimmed leather hat. Beside him, on the ground, sat a large pack. He slowly looked up and everyone took two steps back as they caught sight of his face. Mirrored lenses where the eyes should be, and a cloth and metal cowling covered the rest of his face.
"That was...interesting," he said.
The field was dead silent.
Keith O'Brien was truely at a loss. An hour ago, he had been on a year-long walkabout, hiking across Nebraska when a glowing double circle and star appeared beside him. Curiousity getting the best of him, he touched it and wound up in a dark void. Considering there was no dust and no sun, he didn't mind the reprieve; and then he couldn't find the exit-worrisome, but survivable. A moment ago, he heard a young girl speaking French and noticed an electrical feeling building. Grabbing his gear, he had hunkered down just in time to feel the bottom drop from benieth his feet, literally. The landing wasn't as bad as he thought it might be, fortunately. Not knowing the situation, he'd slipped on his rebreather and goggles before the hazes had disappated. He heard more French, this time two young male voices, and grabbed his duster and whipped it around, pulling it on and hiding the less kid-friendly tools.
And there in front of him stood a crowd of /students/; and a monk. The rebreather's environmental analysis fed onto the goggles heads-up-display signifying an Earth atmosphere.
Keith pulled down the rebreather and googles and looked to the monk. "Are you the one in charge?" he asked in French.
The monk blinked in shock and nodded. "Professor Jean Colbert, Square-class fire mage. This is my class."
The younger man slowly nodded. A Mage, specifically a 'Square-class fire mage'? Perhaps a Pagan monk, then. "Did you bring me here?"
"Ah, no. That was Louise." Professor Colbert pointed to the pink-haired girl directly in front of Keith.
'Sure, blame the kid,' Keith thought. The class was beginning to murmur, which meant he had one, maybe two quick questions left before the kids made themselves known. "Exactly why am I here?"
"You have been called to be Louise's familiar," stated Professor Colbert. Colbert's use of 'convoqué' to denote 'called' brought up Keith's mental dictionary.
"I was summoned?"
One of the children laughed loudly. "Louise summoned a commoner! She truely is the Zero!" The rest of the class laughed, while Louise's face quickly flushed in embarassment.
She turned to Colbert. "Professor, please, let me try again! This was a mistake!"
Keith ignored the jeers from the others. "If not me, then what was supposed to be summoned?"
Louise glared at his and swung an arm around. "A familiar! A creature like one of those that the others summoned! I wasn't supposed to call an utter plebian!"
Keith's face stayed impassive, even though he was beginning to grow alarmed. The way she and the others spoke, there was a class system here. Class systems meant segregation, segregration meant problems. Great, just like the China-Korea War all over again. Although now that he was paying a bit more attention to his surroundings, unsubtle hints-such as the large dragon behind the blue haired girl, and the salamander beside the Mediterranean girl-that he was not in Nebraska, much less /on/ Earth any more.
Right, time to see if anything from the three years of acting during college stuck around.
Keith sighed loudly, "Then it appears I am no longer in my country. What is this lands title?"
"Tristania, in Halkeginia." Louise said.
"Worrisome. This is not even my world."
Professor Colbert seemed taken aback. "What do you mean?"
Keith levelled a hard stare at Colbert. "I mean, my people know every last rock on my world. There are none named Halkeginia, or Tristania." He shook his head. "The Minister of Defense said it was a bad idea to take a journey as a commoner, but of course I didn't listen. Why should I?"
"Minister of Defense? Then you are a noble?"
Keith sketched a mocking bow. "His Lordship, Keith Richards O'Brien, second prince of His Royal Highness, King Jack Daniels O'Brien." Technically not a lie, considering the massive quantities of said whiskey his parents continued to imbibe even now.
While the students screamed in panic toward Louise, who in turn screamed at them, Keith stepped closer to Professor Colbert and spoke quietly. "Discretely, is there a way for me to speak your language easier? It is not my native tongue, and it is mentally exhausting."
Professor Colbert squinted in thought before making a few small gestures with the wand in hand-Keith mentally kicked his lack of observation again- and whispering a few words. Keith felt as if a mental switch had been flipped and tried speaking normally. "Can you understand me?"
Keith and Colbert watched the teenagers for a moment more. "While it was not my intention to be drafted into servitude, I freely admit that the reprieve from war will be greatly appreciated." At Colbert's shocked look, Keith continued. "My country and her allies have been at war with a rather nasty bunch for ten years, now. I served a four year stint near the front, before being ordered by my father to take a six month leave before I begin taking on my noble responsibilities."
He looked back at the students and sighed. "This summoning caught me a week into my furlough."
Professor Colbert sighed regretfully. "Unfortunately, there is no way to return you, that I know of. I will continue to look and see if I can find something. There is also another matter. The ritual is incomplete until Louise seals the pact."
"Nothing quite so barbaric, I assure you. Simply a kiss."
Keith groaned softly. "Let's get this out of the way."
"Louise," Colbert spoke up, quieting the arguement taking place. "You still need to finish the ritual."
Louise turned and openly gaped, her face slowly glowing redder in embarassment. "You want me to- but he- and I- and!"
Keith kneeled, still taller than her, but closer to her level. "Louise, truth told, I could use a reprieve. My family and their advisors will keep my country running while I am here. While it may be considered unthinkable in your country, it is not uncommon for a nobleman to swear allegance, even temporary alleigance to another; even to one of lesser rank in certain situations. For now, consider me your sword and shield, your ally and companion."
After a moment, Louise stepped forward, raising her wand toward him. "Pentagon of the five elements," she whispered, her voice steadily getting stronger and louder, "grant your blessings upon this creature, and bind it as my familiar." She leaned forward and hesitantly kissed him briefly on the lips. She stepped back and looked at him expectantly.
Keith smiled slightly, letting her know he was alright, before he grimace. A searing pain flashed from his left hand and as he watched, glowing letters formed. Norse Futhark runes, he idly noted as the pain subsided. He turned and showed his hand to Colbert who quickly wrote out the sigils before they disappeared.
Keith looked at Louise and hummed. "Well, my young mistress. This truely will be interesting..."
Personal info will be located on the bio.
Story is based on the many character introductions into the Zero no Tsukaima/Familiar of Zero world. Admittedly, blame 4chan's /b/ for the original thought that sparked this. They dropped the "Things to know if you travel back in time and can't get back" image meme, which got me thinking about the current manga I'm perusing in what little free time I have.
The idea originally was "Guy with a MacGuyver complex (basically any genius level guy who practices the Boy Scout "Be prepared" motto) is summoned to Halkaginia. His backpack of 'tech and stuff' allows him to provide detail to Colbert with diagrams of the original combustion engine basic chem books, etc. Within six weeks, they have a working motorbike; during the Albion war, he proves the American term "there's no such thing as overkill" by napalming the high-holy-hell out of them, et cetera, et cetera. Might still try to write that...
What I got was this. A communications/liberal arts major in college; a participant in a "near future" China-Korea War, technically called WW3 by the vast majority of people, but you know politics... Goggles are Gen.5 or 7 "Google Goggles." The "less kid-friendly tools," I suppose guns? Could be magitek grenades or a chainsaw-sword for all I know. The whole lordship should be obvious; if not, then read some actual classic novels.
As an aside, I despise author notes...