Ok, so I've decided that this iteration has gone off the rails. So I'm gonna re-write it but decided to publish to get some feed-back.
If we are the children of the gods then, well, do children not grow up?
I knew that it was likely more bullying was either about to happen or in progress as I approached my unused locker. There was a crowd gathered and that wasn't normal as most people avoided being close to me and my locker. As I got closer I started to smell the stink and knew that there was going to be a hell of a mess that, for some reason, I was going to have to clean up even though it had nothing to do with me. I wondered how the janitors had managed to miss it over the break.
I sighed and moved over to my locker, opened it and stared at the filthy mess. Weeks worth of sewage build up in the form of used female sanitary items and other, less clean, things plastered upon the locker's walls. The stink was unbearable now that it was open and I was glad that I'd cleaned it out before and taken pictures. The bullying had been going on for long enough for that lesson to have sunk in. The other lesson that had also been driven home was that reporting the bullying with evidence was not going to achieve anything. I still did it though and wrote about it in my diary that I had hidden in my room.
As I stood there, looking into the locker, I heard the taunts and insults, the laughter and then I heard, from just behind me, Sophia Hess' voice "Well, as you obviously love such filth…" she said as I spun round, eye's widening in fear "Then why don't you bath in it." She yelled as she picked me up by the front of my shirt and threw me in.
"NO" I yelled but it was too late as the locker door banged closed and locked with darkness closing around me. I banged on the door and the walls, crying for someone to let me out. I banged until my hands were sore and I called until my voice was hoarse but no one came. The stink, over-powering before, now became suffocating and I began to lose touch with my body and the world. As my sight began to go dark other, unknown senses, came to being within me.
I began to feel that the filth was looking for a way to enter me, to corrupt me and that I had to hold it back. I welcomed the Darkness then and I drew it around me like a cloak but I still felt that something was trying to find me, to enter me, something malevolent. I felt it go past me and again and then it struck my Cloak of Darkness and it vanished, destroyed and in its destruction I felt a twinge within my mind and weight lifting from me. I felt freer and more powerful than I had since my mother died and Emma turned on me.
Alone in the Darkness I let out a cry of fury "WHY WON'T SOMEONE HELP ME?"
Out of the Darkness came a soft, kind voice "What do you seek, child?"
I stopped, confused by the question. What did I seek? I thought back over the months of torture and bullying and the answer came to me "I seek justice."
"Then take up my sword, child, and we will see about getting you the justice that you deserve."
A long, straight, sword appeared in front of me and I reached for it but it was just out of reach. I reached again but now the sword seemed even further away even though there was nothing to judge distance in the Darkness. Gathering every ounce of my strength I leapt at the sword, willing my hands to be just there, one upon the hilt and the other grabbing the blade. I wouldn't miss this third time. The surprise of grabbing it almost caused me to reflexively let it go but I managed to hold even tighter, feeling the blade biting into my palm.
I looked into the Darkness that was blacker than night, where the only thing that truly registered as real was the sword I held in the hands that I couldn't see. "Where am I?"
"You're in the Between." Said the Voice, tinged now with both admiration and amusement
"Between what and how did I get here?"
"Ah, now those are valid questions." Said the Voice "Where we are is easy, we are between worlds, between universes. How you got here is another story and one that I cannot answer as only you could have brought yourself here."
"You mean between Earth Bet and Earth Aleph?"
"Yes… and no."
"How can it be both?"
"The Between exists between all of the worlds and not just between the two that you know of and thus when someone is in it, as we are now, then they are between all worlds, all universes. From here anyone could reach any world and anywhere upon that world as long as they knew that location."
"Wouldn't the distance between the worlds change?"
"Not in the Between. The Between is a contradiction in that it is both infinitely large, containing an uncountable number of universes, and infinitely small as the distance between all the worlds in the Between is infinitesimal. You know of two worlds, how are they described?"
I didn't know the full theory of how there were two Earths but "As parallel worlds…"
"Exactly. Although its an over simplification it could be said that all universes occupy the same space with only the Between keeping them apart. Parallel, as you said."
"I… well, no, I don't see but I get the drift of the over-simplification." I said "So how did I get here?"
"I don't know but I suspect that you had a need to remove yourself from where you were." Said the Voice "It is surprising that you are here."
"Why is it surprising?"
"Normally, when mortals pass into the Between, its because their body died and when they get here they simply dissipate. The Between is not a place of life or death and, yet, here you are."
"No on both counts. Your body, although stressed, appears to be still alive and likely to remain that way. Also, you are here and not dissipating despite being in a place that would normally destroy a mortal's soul and there is a connection between you and your body."
"You're not mortal?"
"Those of us who live in the Between are, pretty much by definition, not mortal as time doesn't truly exist here and the Between itself is eternal."
"I see…" I said "Now that I have taken up your sword, what happens?"
"Yes, several decades worth as measured by your world at the very minimum."
"Oh, don't worry. We're in the Between so time is… malleable and, although it may feel like years to you, we'll still be able to return you to your body before it comes out of its catatonic state."
"Ok… so, what training?"
"Well, you're going to learn what you need to be a Paladin Of Justice." Really, I could feel the capitals "And you're going to learn more about existing in the Between, kinda important that."
"What does being a Paladin Of Justice require?"
"To be able to use that sword you've got in your hand and many other forms of self-defense. By the time we've finished you will truly hold the title of Weapon Master." The voice paused "Then there's going to be the knowledge needed for healing and philosophy of law including how to spot an unjust law."
"Where do we start?"
"We start with you creating a training room."
"This is the Between and what sentients imagine can become real here so I want you to imagine a room with four walls, a floor and a roof large enough for a classroom and, once you have a good image of them, project them out around you."
I blinked my non-existent eyes but his words had already brought the classroom that I had been in just this morning to mind. Floor so, walls that high, roof, windows to my right with the morning sun shining through, door to the left next to the teacher's desk and the blackboard. I fixed it in my mind and then expanded it around me until it felt right.
When I finished there was a knock on the door. It felt important so I willed the door to open and called for him to come in.
A most definitely male humanoid (causing me to blush) but not human walked through the door, took a good look around, and said in the Voice "Well, this is a surprise. You must be intimately familiar with classrooms."
"I… um… still go to school and this is the classroom I was in just before I… ended up here."
"Excellent, excellent. Such good visualisation." He looked towards me "And now I need you to imagine yourself as a body."
I considered his words and the strange way he said it, the emphasis on as and I realised that he didn't want me to create myself a new body. I already had one after all although I was not manifesting one at the moment. Having always been physically active I knew my body, knew how it bent and moved and from that I willed myself into that form with some loose fitting clothing over it. Once that was finished I opened my eyes and checked myself over, making sure everything was as it should be including the sword in my hand.
I looked up and noted that he had copied the clothing that I had on and had a sword identical to mine raised before him "Excellent, and now, to training."
He rushed towards me, his sword swinging rapidly. I got my sword up in time to deflect his but I lost the sword and then his shoulder rammed into me, easily slamming me to the ground.
"Excellent." He helped my feet, repositioned himself and raised his sword "En garde."
I started as something disturbed me as I worked in my laboratory. I let out my senses to see what it was but everything seemed to be in place. The Voice was down by the lake fishing and birds flew through the sky. Everything was in place so what had disturbed me?
Then it came again and I realised that it hadn't come from around me but from within me. My physical body was stirring, awakening and I was now on a limited time schedule to get back to it… or to let it die and fully take my place here. The latter was tempting in many respects as it wasn't just a bare classroom any more. The building was bigger with more than one laboratory and an upstairs with living quarters in it - not that anyone lived there. Souls didn't need to sleep or eat or anything that was necessary for a physical body but planning ahead was a good idea and so the building had places for the living.
How long had it been?
I shrugged. I hadn't been counting as there was just too much else to do and it didn't really matter. Learning about physics resulted in having an entire world with a real sun and three moons (Why three moons? Because it looks cool) and a series of computers that would have many Tinkers from Earth Bet jealous. Biology resulted in my world being populated with all forms of life from bacteria to plants and animals. If the Voice had told me that my training to become a paladin was going to result in me creating a world I wouldn't have believed him and thus I probably wouldn't have been able to manage it. Instead it was just learn this and then that and then coming to the realisation that I had created an entire world bit by bit.
Another twinge came from my body and I sent out a message to the Voice "Its time."
He appeared behind me "Your body awakens?"
"Yes." I looked over to him "You will be leaving then?"
"Yes, as I told you. And do you remember what I told you about time?"
"Yes, I remember. That when I return to my body then time here will become the same as time there." I paused "Thank you, for everything. I will miss you."
"I'll probably come by in a few thousand years to see how you and your world are going."
"I'll look forward to that day." There wasn't anything else to say. After… how ever long it had been we knew each other well enough so I turned and felt for the connection between me and my body, visualising it as a thread, then looked back at him.
He smiled and said "Goodbye and farewell, Taylor."
"Remember to knock when you come back." He nodded at me and vanished. I waited a few seconds and then opened a channel between my world and Earth Bet and slipped down the thread. Myself returning to me.
I flicked my eyes open and then closed them again as the bright lights of a hospital room hit me "Ugh, too bright." I mumbled
There was a shuffle to my side as someone moved "Taylor? Is that you?"
"Hey, dad. Don't suppose you could turn the lights down a bit?"
"Ah, no, sorry. How are you feeling?"
"Stiff, feels like I haven't moved in years." I paused a bit "How long have I been out?"
"A week." There was another pause "How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine, dad." I smiled at him then asked "I don't suppose we can get someone in here to disconnect all these these tubes? I haven't eaten anything in far too long and I'm starving." What I didn't tell him was that I needed the food to adjust my body so that it matched what I'd been using for the last few decades.
I don't own Worm - that belongs to Wildbow
What I've done here is to give Taylor my magic system that I'm still developing (I'm altering it here somewhat to fit in cannon - err, somewhat). I'm using it here to get a feel for it. Constructive criticism is very much appreciated especially any apparent rules of the magic system that contradict anything I try with it.