Notes: This started as a gift for a user I will not name for SecretSantaStuck 2012. In the end I didn't really feel like it suited the request, but I enjoyed it enough that I didn't want to abandon the story. So I passed it on to a friend whose work I proof and asked if they would do me a favor by looking it over and telling me if it was good enough to share.
It was a standoff of a kind Mituna had never expected to face before, and was certain he'd never have to face again. The air around them crackled with the full force of his psionic powers, barely restrained by the sheer force of his will. He could feel it around his body, heavy in the air. The power felt, as it always did, like he was trailing his hand out of the window of a motorized transportation carrier, the air sweeping around it and pressing against it with great force even though it was barely a tangible thing. That pressure, all its potential, now held him up, hovering a few feet above the ground. A pure destructive force contained only by the strength of his will, and the control was a tenuous at best.
"We don't have to do this," he said, powering through his lisp despite how much it frustrated him. Always had. The problem was that the only person that had ever been able to make him feel alright about the whole thing was the troll he was standing across from, standing before the object that was the center of Mituna's rage. While he wasn't quite sure what the thing was, Mituna was certain of one thing: it was the source of the undeniable sense of doom, a sense that was practically radiating from the void of darkness flashing with a green-white light. Whatever the thing was, it would destroy them long before they had the chance to achieve anything in their game. Which meant he had to act now or lose his chance, lose everyone's chances.
The only problem? His moirail was standing between him and the thing that Mituna could only really call a rift, his clubs in hand and a look like death warmed over on his face.
"Dammit, Kurloz, you need to move NOW."
A shake of the head, all the answer he could expect to get except for Kurloz's failure to move. Great, just what he needed. There was really only one choice, which involved moving Kurloz by force. The trouble with that? Mituna's gifts had never really been the fine turned kind of thing. There had never really been a reason to develop minute levels of control on Beforus, more like there was a reason to discourage psionics from developing their powers to their fullest. Such things could hurt a troll by accident, which had never been something Mituna had wanted. Now, though, his head was screaming that the rift had to be closed, and immediately, or they were all dead. Which meant he had to move Kurloz and try to do it without hurting his precious moirail.
"I'm sorry, Kurloz, I really am. Know that I do this under extreme duress."
Mituna raised one of his hands, shaking and nervous, and carefully pointed it at his moirail. As he gestured a few tendrils of red and blue energy broke off of the writhing mass of power that burned around him and shot forward towards Kurloz. Amazingly enough, his mute moirail didn't even try to escape the surging advance of the power, even remained perfectly still and sedate as Mituna's power wrapped around him, feather light at first and then slowly stronger and stronger as Mituna tried to find the right mix of power and finesse to confidently grip his moirail and move him aside. At last he could feel Kurloz start to give, feel the power of his mind raise and cradle his pitiful friend. Smiling the best he could, Mituna started to carry Kurloz to his side.
Soon, thankfully soon, he had his moirail settled into place at his side, his psionics still tangled around Kurloz to keep him still and out of the way.
"I've got to fix this. Then we can get back to the game. I promise, okay?"
Except Kurloz was giving him an evil look, none of the familiar and comforting pity filling his eyes. Something else was there, something terrible that Mituna wanted to pap away with all of his force, but there were more important things to do first. The first task of a moirail, after all, was to protect. And every scrap of Mituna's mind screamed that if he didn't shut this rift here and now, there would be no protecting anyone from anything.
It was difficult to maintain the careful control it took to keep Kurloz still and safe, and yet to direct the rest of his ample power towards the rift, mostly because it didn't seem to appreciate the burning cords of blue and red power that he wrapped around it in an attempt to contain it's growth. In truth, it seemed to rage against the control that he was trying to exert over it. Every time he tried to tighten the bindings his power made, there was a surge of green-white light, flaring and forcing the rift open wider. And with each surge of energy, a wave of pain ran through Mituna. So much pain, and of a kind he could never have imagined before this.
In the end it was all he could do to hold back the expanding void. There was no closing it, not with the power he currently had.
Or was there? Because the truth of the matter was that he was still holding something back, wasn't he? The power that he was using to keep Kurloz back. How much was there, in truth? Could it turn the tide? Only one way to know, but was he willing to pay the price that might come with it?
Slowly Mituna unwound his power from around Kurloz, drawing it into himself, gathered a deep breath, and launched the energy forward to join the war against the opening. Every bit of his power, his mind, woven into the struggle against the angry forces of the rift. Yet with the addition of the little bit he'd held back he could feel the rift finally shiver the littlest bit smaller from the force of it. Red and blue flowing forth to overwhelm green and white, and every touch of his power against the otherness sent a jolt of pain through his system. Not that it mattered. Even now, down on his knees and forcing his power more tightly together, actively trying to crush despite spending years practicing careful touches, the pain meant nothing.
There was only a pinprick of existence left of the rift now, which was struggling to maintain coherence with all of its available energy. For all the power he had at his beck and call now, it wasn't really important. The strength did nothing when it couldn't all gather together to crush something. The bits around the edge could do nothing against the core left by the battle, and as Mituna watched through narrowed, flashing eyes, he could see his power bleeding off of the sides, evaporating even as he tried to gather it back together. Gone the moment he tried to reach for it. Gone too fast to do anything but refocus his attention on sealing the rift, which still burned with a sense of foreboding in his mind.
At last a brilliant flash of green-white, a burst of red and blue, and a pain that Mituna couldn't even put words to as he fell forward, face-first to kiss the ground. Searing agony in his mind replacing the feeling of doom, and darkness, only darkness, left in his eyes and thoughts.
A touch, feather light, and hesitant. Slowly Mituna opened his eyes, and smiled up at the vision before him. Kurloz, his wonderful friend, kneeling over him, looking concerned. With a smile Mituna raised a hand and brushed it against his moirail's cheek. Kurloz returned the smile, pained and hesitant.
"What's wrong?" Mituna asked, or at least it was what he'd meant to ask. The words came out garbled, trailing long past the points that they should have rightly ended. Little sounded like it was in the right place, and when Mituna tried to repeat himself, it came out more garbled than the time before.
Now the smile on Kurloz's face had turned into a frown, a deep and sorrowful one. When Mituna tried to question what was wrong, Kurloz just shook his head, reeling off a series of gestures that Mituna only half understood. Slowly he sat up, smiled, and wrapped his arms around his moirail.
"What happened?" he asked, trying as hard as he could to ignore how fuzzy his pan felt, how hard it was to keep a thought still for long enough to voice it. The biggest problem was that Kurloz was looking at him, eyes wide with shock and denial maybe, and Mituna couldn't even begin to figure out why.
The mute troll shook his head, and at last wrapped his own arms around Mituna's chest. Well, what did it all matter right now anyway? What he knew was that his moirail was here, holding him tightly and rocking him back and forth. Surely nothing could be wrong in the world when this was happening. Everything was perfectly alright so long as Kurloz was here, holding him tightly.
"I'm dizzy, Kurloz. I'm not sure I can walk on my own. Could you..."
Again the words were utterly garbled, but Kurloz seemed to get the point anyway. Slowly he helped Mituna to his feet, and made a soothing noise in the back of his throat. Kurloz started to help him walk away from the odd bit of land that Mituna couldn't help but wonder how he'd gotten to. Well, it wasn't important, obviously, if he didn't remember.
Nothing he couldn't remember was worth remembering, right?
Then what was this odd sorrow that seemed to be bubbling up in his pan?