It Turns Out That When Everyone Says You’re Necessary to Save the World, They’re Probably Right
“Mads, if you partithipate in this fucked-up ritual I’m going to thtab you in the face myself,” Nuka promised, glaring at Mads as he hesitated.
“I…I have to, or they’ll…”
“Fuck, fuck that,” Nuka spat. “You literally told me that boy’th life was the motht important thing. Save, save him!”
“You should listen to your boy,” said the cult leader, smiling thinly. “You wouldn’t want us to kill him.”
“Fuck you, you’re going to, going to kill us anyway,” Nuka snarled. “Mads, rescue the fucking boy.”
Crow had been thrown to the floor in the middle of a circle of cultists, who’d driven stakes into the ground to chain him to. He was smiling. He didn’t look worried. He’d said it would be okay. But he’d also said Mads had to save him.
Nuka was right. The Clan was going to kill them all anyway.
But Mads didn’t have the strength to let them kill Nuka. Crow was looking at him, expectant. “It’s okay, Mads,” he said, so quiet Mads wasn’t sure it was aloud. “I’m ready.”
Mads looked at him, just the two of them moving for a long second. He nodded. “Let them go,” he said. “Both of them. I’ll do what you want.”
“It’s okay, Nuka,” Mads said. He was projecting calm. He didn’t feel calm, but the only thing Mads was good at was lying to people. He looked at the cult leader. “I know what I’m doing.”
Nuka’s expression changed, going calm too. He recognized what Mads was doing. Or at least he recognized that Mads was working, so he was working too. “Fine,” he said, glancing at Dream Fox. “Let him go firtht.”
“You don’t get to make demands, boy,” said the leader. Dream Fox was stirring, but still unconscious. “We will release him after your soothsayer begins his part.” Now he smiled at Mads. “It should be an easy part for you to play. You need only fuck the sacrifice. A pastime of yours, I’m told.”
“If you want me to cooperate, at least don’t kill Juniper,” Mads said, rather than calling him names. Juniper was backed against the wall, three cultists in front of him.
The leader looked back, waved a hand. “A sign of good faith. Now get to work.”
“It’s never work to fuck a cute boy,” Mads told him, going over to Crow, crouching in front of him. “And just a thought, but the fact that your world-ending torture god can only be summoned through a rape ritual is really not great for your public image. Maybe think about that for next time.”
“We’ll take that under advisement in the new world.”
“Do. I fuck little boys daily and I’m a pillar of my community. It’s possible to do. It’s going to be okay,” he said to Crow.
“I know,” Crow told him, smiling a little. “You can’t hurt me, Mads. This is going to hurt you a little. I’m sorry.”
Mads kissed his forehead. “It’s okay.” He got on top of Crow, letting his dick touch him. He started to get hard, even in the circumstances, being this close to a naked boy. He spat on his hand and used it to wet his dick, just to make it less uncomfortable for Crow. The cultists were surrounding them, chanting.
Mads pressed his cock inside the boy. Crow smiled. The already low light in the basement dimmed. Everything started to shake.
Ice cold spots of pain erupted on Mads’s back, and something heavy was touching him. He started thrusting. “That’s Kozna,” Crow said quietly. “Trying to get to my body through yours.”
Mads nodded, sweat beading. It hurt. He kept going. “I won’t let him.”
“Neither will I,” Crow promised, taking a breath. “It was supposed to be Boden doing this. Every dream I’ve ever had, it was Boden doing this.”
“Don’t worry about me,” Mads whispered. The chanting was getting louder, and Mads’s back really hurt now. “Do whatever you need to do.”
Crow smiled. “I already did. I’m just waiting for you.”
“For me?” It was getting hard to talk. Darkness was creeping in at the edges of Mads’s vision.
“Are you ready yet, Mads?” Crow asked, in a voice that was his and also not his.
The presence of the Something was so strong, all around him. Coming from inside him. Oh.
Oh. In all the visions, Mads had thought it was talking to Crow. Asking Crow if he was ready. But it never had been.
It had been talking to him. It had been waiting for him.
“I’m ready,” he said, feeling distant from himself. Crow closed his eyes, and the power of the Something flowed outwards. Mads leaned down and kissed him, and it clawed its way into his mouth.
And Mads screamed.
Mads opened his eyes, feeling cold and sore all over. The ceiling of the basement was dark, and he sat up, taking a deep breath. There was blood on his hands, on his…these weren’t his hands. “What?”
“Being disembodied is hard,” Mads said, but no, that wasn’t Mads talking. That was Crow. “So we’re sharing mine while yours is busy.”
Mads heard screaming, looked up. There he was, covered in swirling black, wrestling with something he could see only as a shining swirl of blue light. A lot of the cultists were dead. “What happened?”
“I was supposed to become the Map of Amker,” Crow said, standing up. “Boden was going to rape me and Kozna was going to enter through him, and they were going to force me to accept the Sentinel, which was going to make me capable of hosting Kozna.”
“The Sentinel?” Mads asked. It felt so weird to be having this conversation with himself. Even weirder was that he could see all of those things happening as Crow described them.
“You call it the Something. They changed the future, so I had to change it too. I’m sorry.”
Mads looked at himself, at his body. “You made me the Map of Amker.”
“Sorry,” Crow repeated, sheepish. “We should get out of here.”
Crow turned their head, and Mads saw Nuka and a now-awake Dream Fox in a corner with Juniper, watching the Sentinel fight Kozna. He took a step towards them, and a howl cut through the air. A red wolf darted into the basement, looking around frantically.
Maple Song shifted back into his cuter form. “Shadowwatcher!” he said, holding his arms out. “I found you! And also everyone else! I’m here to save you! Oh wow, that’s really gross!”
The Sentinel and Kozna had collided with a cultist and he’d kind of just broken into several pieces. Maple Song was right, it was pretty gross.
Mads went over to him, and to the other boys. “We need to get out of here.”
“Not without Mads,” Nuka insisted.
“Nuka,” Mads said, getting his attention.
Nuka blinked, looking closely at him. “Mads?”
“Shadowwatcher?” Maple Song asked, peering at him.
“It’s him,” Dream Fox confirmed. “His eyes are the same.”
“Oh, wow! The evil guys shrunk you!” Maple Song looked around. “Does this mean we all have to be on top of you when we fuck from now on?”
“Let’s worry about fucking later?” Juniper suggested.
“Huh? Sure, but let’s also worry about it now!”
“Yeah.” Mads said, as Crow nodded their head. “We need to get out of here before…”
A huge crack sounded through the air, and the ceiling sagged alarmingly. Mads didn’t finish the sentence, just herded the boys out of the cellar. The stairs were steep and Crow’s poor legs burned as they climbed up them, and the light was too bright for his eyes, but they emerged into an open area that was devoid of people, which might have had something to do with the earthquake, or the sky being orange. Or Ogwen’s Tower being under attack by a dragon.
“What the fuck?” Mads asked.
“Oh, those are Knifebird’s friends!” Maple Song said, as Crow looked around.
“This is Webb’s Square,” Mads muttered, turning around just in time to see the building they’d been in—a southern Catechism church—collapse. “We weren’t far from the tower.”
From the rubble of the church burst Kozna’s light and the Sentinel’s darkness, and they landed in the square about ten feet from Mads, still struggling. To Mads’s eye, it looked like Kozna was brighter. “We’re losing,” he muttered, quietly.
Crow nodded. “Not yet,” he said.
The square twisted into a spiral and all around them, everything stopped moving. “There you are, you slippery piece of shit.” That was Cal, appearing out of nowhere with a long sword in his hand. He swung it at Kozna, who recoiled.
“What the fuck is that?” Nuka asked, looking past them to a big cube floating in the middle of the square.
“It looks like a clock,” said Dream Fox, which was true, it did kind of look like a clock, though Mads had only seen a real clock once and he didn’t think they usually had all the parts on the outside.
“It doesn’t look anything like a cock?” Maple Song asked.
“You guys should…”
“If you say we have to get out of here I’m going to thtab you,” Nuka reminded him. “Not until you get your body…”
A flash of light pulsed out from Ogwen’s Tower and pushed them all to the ground. “Fuck,” Mads said, pretty sure he’d bruised Crow’s ass pretty badly. “Is everyone okay?”
Nobody answered. Mads stood up, and nobody was with him. Nuka and the other boys were gone, and so was the floating clock.
“It’s okay,” Crow promised him, hand on their heart. “It’s okay, they’re fine, Mads. Pay attention or the world will end.”
Mads looked up, saw Cal clashing with Kozna. The Sentinel was on its knees next to them, straining. “It needs help,” Mads said.
Crow nodded, and they hurried over there, Juniper with them. “The Clock probably just disappeared everyone it didn’t want here,” Juniper told them. “It does that sometimes.”
“You’ve seen it before?”
“How do you think I got here?”
Right. Cal slashed at Kozna, who was screaming in what Mads thought was frustration. “It’s hurt.”
“It’s trapped,” Crow said, scowling. “The magic behind the Joining is gone. It can’t fully enter the world.”
“Not really. It can still lash out and destroy the world if we don’t stop it. That’s what it’s trying to do, see?”
Mads did see. Kozna retreated from Cal, glowing brighter and brighter. It was going to attack. It was going to…fuck, it was going to kill them all.
Mads ran towards it. “Hey!”
Kozna turned, formless but still facing Mads. The keening it was making didn’t sound like language, just anger.
Well, Mads was fucking angry too. He reached right into that swirl of light and grabbed it.
Icy electric shocks ran through Mads’s body as Kozna’s power touched him, filled him, polluted him. Oh. Oh, shit, what the fuck was this? It was already inside him, taking him over, taking everything from him, taking, taking, taking…
Mads was pulled back by Juniper, who was smoking. “What the fuck?” he demanded. “Did you do that for?”
“I, uh…thought it would do something?”
Juniper rolled his eyes. The Sentinel leapt over, landed on Kozna, pinned it to the ground. Cal advanced with his sword, swung downwards. Kozna disappeared.
Mads sighed, sat down. “Is it dead?”
“It’s gone, which is close enough,” Cal said.
“Not really,” Crow muttered, but before he could say anything else, all the boys returned to the square, along with a bunch of other people and the Clock. “Oh.”
Bob was there too, and he hugged Mads as soon as he saw him. “You’re okay,” he said.
Crow hugged Bob back. “Yeah, I’m okay,” he said. “Thanks, Roberto.” Mads could feel his joy, because it was both of their joy.
Bob had tears in his eyes, and he stepped back. “Nobody calls me that, Grandad.”
“Get used to it. Or don’t, since you’re about to leave.”
The square unswirled back into a square, and when it did, Cal, Bob, all their friends, and Juniper were gone, leaving Mads and Crow along with Nuka, Maple Song and Dream Fox—who was now wearing a bandana—and the Sentinel.
The Sentinel was just kind of standing there, roiling. “It’s okay,” Crow promised, walking up to it. “It works for me. Just touch it.”
Mads nodded, and he lifted their hand, put it on his own chest. “Give me back my body, please,” he said.
Everything in the world went dark and bright at the same time and Mads felt himself flying an endless, vast distance, and for just one second, one short second, he felt like he knew everything in the world.
He opened his eyes, looked down at all his boys, just for a second, and fell to his knees. “Hi,” he said, crying.
All four of them leapt into his arms, and he hugged them all together, Crow in the centre. “It’s okay now,” Mads promised them all, and he felt safe promising them that. Because for once, Mads knew without a doubt what the future was.
“Everything’s going to be okay now.”
2 thoughts on “Soothsayer, 15”
So Mads is the Map of Amker after all.
…whatever that actually means.
And what is the paper that kicked off his involvement in this whole mess, anyway?
Yep, whatever that means it’s definitely happened! The paper is pretty much just a McGuffin, but we will see it again eventually and get a few more answers on that on-page, so I’ll save the answers for now. Thank you!