“I grew up… elsewhere. There, people tended to stay clothed for one another. Anyway, please, just take my word about what happened,” said Turlough, unable to make eye contact with his friend, inching away from her advances. Delland rolled her eyes and pushed Turlough away from the microscope to take a look herself. Aside from some cloth fibres, it was a clear sample with no other distinctive features.
“Are you sure it was ejaculate? There’s no—”
“—Sperm. Yes, I know. But I also know that I was erect when it happened,” said Turlough holding a clenched hand to his mouth.
Delland scratched her nose. “It’s not uncommon for a Distorter to have a few odd things happen with their body as they get older. I mean, we’re called Distorters for a reason. We alter what is natural. This was probably just a one-off, because clearly this isn’t ejaculate, it’s just some sort of discharge.”
Turlough pursed his lips. Delland’s explanation made sense. Maybe it wasn’t the connection he thought it was. But it wasn’t the first time he’d felt sensations without cause, such as the sparking feeling against his skin a few days back. To Turlough, the theory of his phantom boner still held ground that it happened due to a certain external fecking factor that followed him in every life.
And it further supported that Wirtrin was still alive.
Delland unzipped her backpack and split her nut bread in half. “You’re not up early, you never went to bed, did you? Stayed in the library again overnight.”
Turlough accepted the half and took a generous bite. He pointed a finger at Delland and waggled it. “I’d found some good information. Couldn’t stop reading.”
Delland went to the kitchenette and poured herself some coffee and sat down in the adjacent rolly chair. She took out her hair rubber and re-tightened her bun. “I’ll blow of meditation today, what did you find?”
Turlough smiled, “We’re in the era past Galladrad’s Veining. Do you know why he did what he did?”
Delland played along with Turlough’s bait to story tell. He was one for stories like an old man. “Ferrok, Galladrad’s home, was at war. There were too few Ferrokese to stand against the invading Valdoran army… Galladrad’s Ouroborics mutated and turned him into a pulsating tangle of veins that penetrated the warfield and cursed the invading army to the same fate.”
“—and now we see the remnants of a warfield where over five billion Distorters were turned into piles of veins,” finished Turlough. Delland nodded. “The ting is, Ferrok is one of the farthest removed settlements in the growing world, that there weren’t any outsiders to witness the veining, aside from the Valdorans and Ferrokese themselves. The only reason why we know about it today is because Galladrad’s veins reached so far that we were able to trace them back to the source.
“I pulled some of his veins out of my garden the other day, they were choking my Zinnias,” mentioned Delland.
“I posture that five billion Distorters did not invade Ferrok.”
Delland scoffed “That’s preposterous. The proof is overwhelming. There is over a hundred square kilometres of land bestrewn with the veins of billions of Distorters that are kind of hard to miss.”
He went to the hallway to don his prim coat. It was so cool, he felt like he was unstoppable when he wore it. This one was custom tailored. He’d chosen the fabrics himself, a stunning grey cotton that was woven so tightly it could be used to retain water. In the sunlight, its fibres shone a metallic silver that captured attention from even the most self-absorbed people. It was a material constant that Turlough strived to find in every life. It made him happy, and he felt when he wore it, life was good. When wearing the coat, it meant that his circumstances were such that he had the time to think about his fashion. And having the peace of mind to think about such things would be an increasing rarity, especially as he neared the critical point.
Turlough smoothed his short hair and straightened the shoulders of his blazer. He returned to face Delland and spoke with a booming confidence in his voice.
“What if the Valdoran army was just one person?”