Part 1Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine, but belong to their respective owners.The Present, January 24, 2009
The Beast was coming. She could be heard already – smashing through the doors, stomping through the corridors, leaving nothing but destruction in her wake. It seemed that not even the Orb of Dagon would be enough to keep her at bay.
“Hurry, brother Waclaw!” one of the younger monks hurriedly whispered.
The glare of the abbot implied that he was chanting as fast as he could, when something went completely wrong: the Beast must’ve sensed that something was amiss and put on speed. Like a missile of pure force, she burst through the doors, and right into the chamber.
And right into the spell. Late Permian, 252 MYA
Helen Cutter was bored. There was little to no rain, even though the rainy season had arrived, and the giant amphibian that she wanted to observe, preferred to spend its time burrowed deep in the mud, to escape the heat of the sun as well as the hungry eyes of the local gorgonopsid predators.
For her own part, Helen Cutter was almost jealous of the amphibian – it was quite hot out here, and the scant cover was hardly adequate if one of the gorgopsids decided that it would rather eat her instead. Suddenly, however, her skin began to crawl, as both her instincts and experience sensed that danger was close by – but where?
And suddenly, it hit. A wave of murk seemed to solidify before Helen’s eyes before it struck, driving into her body, seeking to fracture her mind... and failing.* * *
The Beast, also known as the Divine Glorificus (Glory for short) was in trouble. She, or it, found herself in a time and place where for many a mile and millennia there was no mind and body ini-tially suitable, except for one – and it was fiercely resisting. Straight away Glory struck at it with one of her tentacles, and a maw of a crocodile-like beast reached out from her victim’s mind-scape and bit clean off. Glory struck again, this time wielding them as clubs, rather than spears, and got hit with a torrentful of water, pushing her away from the mental space of her potential host – and succeeding to an extent.
‘Oh no you won’t,’ Glory growled, as she puffed herself up, trying to overwhelm her victim from the top down.
Immediately, the latter’s mindscape shifted: Glory was falling not onto a river in the desert, but onto a genuine ocean, and a maw of a huge sea monster opened wide and sheared Glory’s flesh with its own teeth.
The former hell goddess screamed.* * *
The pain in her skull was unbearable, Helen Cutter felt as if her very mind was breaking up into pieces, but here, in the late Permian, it meant death, either from the local predators or the local climate, and it was anyone’s guess that would be worse. So, instead of succumbing to the monstrous headache, she dug into the hot, sun-baked soil of the Palaeozoic desert and painstakingly pieced her memories together, ignoring the pain.
Her childhood - her mother’s warm hands and love of cooking, the smell of her father pipe as he took a break from his veterinary duties. Her youth – her whirlwind romance with Nick Cutter that died slowly, painstakingly slowly after their marriage. Then – her meeting with Stephen Hart, Nick’s assistant, the meetings that rescinded something in Helen’s chest, something so scary that she had to flee into the past.
And then – the late Triassic, where ancient archosaurs took place of the therapsids, the Messel pits of early Eocene with giant killer birds, the islands of late Jurassic both with dinosaurs and sea monsters that were even bigger, the seas of late Eocene, where mammals took over the role of giant monsters both on land and see, the jungles of the Cretaceous, where Helen almost died from a giant spider’s bite, and finally – the jungles and scrubland of the same Jurassic, complete with giant dinosaurs, some of which would like nothing better but to hunt her. Yet Helen Cutter had survived it all, survived it by the strength of her body, her mind, her will, and she was not going some strange headache to bring her down now!
...Somewhere deep within her head there was a pop and the ex-anthropologist had a vision, a woman, rather well-built, kneeling down before her. “Spare me,” the stranger whispered, pitifully.
Helen hesitated, her instincts told her to watch out, and they were right: the woman might’ve been begging, but her eyes were black, hollow, and emotionless. The eyes of a predator.
“Hell no!” Helen snapped back, and knocked the woman down with all of her strength. There was another pop, and suddenly Helen found herself back in the late Permian, with a very painful nose, and with her headache completely gone.
And – with a strange girl staring back at her, very, very nervously.
“...And who are you?” Helen finally asked, when it became obvious that the newcomer wasn’t about to break the silence herself, and was actually unsure should she approach Helen, or flee.
“I?” the girl said, clearly unsure, “I... I am not sure!” she blinked. “I mean, I, I-“
“This is ridiculous,” died on Helen’s lips before it could be spoke. It was ridiculous, sure enough, that a person couldn’t remember his or her name, but the recent headache attack did give her a new perspective – if she hadn’t overcome it, somehow, then there would probably be two people in the late Permian desert right now, not knowing who they were.
“Do you remember anything else instead?” was what Helen did ask, trying to sound kindly.
“Um, there were monks, and they were chanting, I think,” the girl said, meekly.
“Monks? Chanting? That sounds mystical,” Helen sighed. “I hate mystical. Well, come on then, let’s go and talk to someone who knows that sort of thing, I hope.”
“Sure,” the girl nodded eagerly. “In what direction?”
“Oh, allow me,” Helen firmly took the confused teenager by one hand, and pulled out her time anomaly manifestation device with the other. A sequence of numbers, and they were gone.
Left behind, the drying out watering hole quietly bubbled...The Present, January 24, 2009
“What has happened?” the abbot’s second in command looked confused perhaps for the first time in his life. “The Beast was here, wasn’t it?”
“Yes,” the abbot said, slowly, “it was. It came upon us just as when we were delivering the final words of our magical litany... it appears that it was caught in it, because of its’ blind rush.”
“The Beast, in its pure form, is similar enough to the Key,” another monk said thoughtfully. “You think that it too followed the spell’s course to the Slayer?”
“Perhaps, perhaps not,” the abbot said, thoughtfully. “Obviously, some further investigation is required.” He paused and added, even more pensively: “And lord Erlin will have to be notified of the new development, as well.”Late Permian, 252 MYA
Glory was lost, adrift in the wind and sand, looking for a new body to inhabit, preferably something weak-willed or even unintelligent – any big animal would do.
There! There it was, Glory could sense it: a relatively big beast, torpid and painfully unaware of its surroundings. With speed and power borne from desperation, Glory reached downwards and struck.
Deep in the crude hole, the giant amphibian twitched only once, and then appeared to have continued to hibernate, but behind its immobile eyes, something different was lurking. End Part 1