CHAPTER 34 (120XX-120YY Champions Era / 20XX-20YY AD) – I

Aricame was in the middle of his daily meditation, an exercise that he had been practicing for years at this point. He found this routine very beneficial as he worked to mend and focus the mind. Kissing and caressing and cleaning the scars and scabs and stains that persisted on his psychic self (unsure, was he, if this was his human self, his Champion self, or both). Slowly slowly slowly he progressed against the constant reminder of squandered victory, that period of conjoined terror, that Championship cohabitation.

The unexpected (and not fully trusted) bounty of Vicars Salamander literature and lore gifted to him by Avril provided interesting insights into his Champion self. The promising material within the books was almost too much to comprehend! Learning of the unique strengths/skills/powers of past Champions gave Aricame much to contemplate. Contemplation led to meditation led to practice. This practice would hopefully help with Aricame’s cleansing rituals. Additionally, they could potentially help to focus his immense potential energy into a kinetic force of unparalleled potency. At least, that was the thought. Aricame had been burned by Victor Strife before. Damned if he’d be fooled by one of Victor’s proteges. Yet the material was so seductive! Not least for the passages that pondered non-horrific solutions. For that was the hope: peaceful resolution. With enough introspection, use of unimaginable force could be avoided.

Cai-Ream took a totally different message from his apportionment of the VS knowledge.

Though still on asymmetrical footing with his Other, the gap had closed substantially during this interregnum. After reading and analyzing he began scheming and strategizing. Though Cai-Ream also did not fully trust Avril’s beneficence, it was undeniable that the lessons therein were profoundly prescient. Cai-Ream could see a path to victory, if played to perfection. And if, as they say, ‘Fortune favors the bold’, well then, was he not bold?

Soon thereafter, it happened: A seismic event not seen since the height of the previous incarnation of the epic Light-Dark struggle had captured the world. The earth, once again, rattled rumbled ruptured. An encirclement of immense scale rendered entire nations no more stable than an ice cube floating in a cup of hot coffee. Disintegrating into a pool of hellacious lava, land gave way to a sinkhole that brought the theoretical concepts of black holes into a stark earthly reality. An unexpected offensive had heightened global tension and anxiety and existential dread.

Aricame was busy meditating.

As far as he knows
Black holes devour and destroy information
As the theory goes
White holes feed into a new configuration