March 28, 2017

In Which Ylwa Agrees to a Mind-Numbing Chore

November 7, 1203

"That's it. I'm never helping another human again. None of you are ever satisfied with just one enormous favor." And it wasn't as if anything Ylwa or Deian or any of the rest of them did was technically impossible for a human to do; the lazy wretches just hadn't bothered to try for themselves. Her grandson had taken the smart route when it came to humans, finding one tolerable specimen with a wide sphere of influence and only interacting with the rest of them through her.

Ylwa supposed Dora was tolerable enough. Not much of a character, but therefore unlikely to draw undue attention--and her problems did lean somewhat toward interesting, even if she herself didn't. Of course, 'somewhat' interesting wasn't... well, that interesting.

Not when it got to be this predictable. "Let me guess: you want to be able to freely acknowledge your family, but without... I don't know, being burned at stake or whatever you humans are doing to scare each other into conformity these days."

"Uh... I guess that sums it up."

Perhaps 'somewhat' had become a generous adjective.

"I know I shouldn't get my hopes up. I'm sure it's too much to ask, even with your powers--"

"Let me stop you right there. None of what I do is anything special. The only reason you humans can't do all of the things I've done for you is your baffling tendency to label all of your half-decent ideas as heresy. But never mind any of that. There's one thing I can do for you, and maybe I should have offered this from the start, but I really don't like doing it. That said, if it gets you to leave me in peace for a while, perhaps it will be worth the bother."

"Really?" There it was, genuine shock in the eyes. Dora had already dismissed the possibility of anything more, probably ages ago--and yet, she'd still had to ask. How vexing. "What on earth could be a more drastic option than changing my memories?"

"Oh, I don't know... changing the actual past events of your life?" Ylwa flipped some hair out of her eyes and stared back at the human, who was now even more confused if that gaping jaw was any indication. Was it even worth the bother of explaining? "It's really not such a difficult concept to grasp. Take the folds in space and time, rearrange them in such a way that leads to whatever in-utero event that resulted in your initial misgendering not happening in the first place, then otherwise correct the resulting sequence of events so that your life and those of everyone around you remain unchanged at present, apart from the fact that you were always recognized as a woman."

"Change the past?" Shock, confusion... now skepticism. Of course they didn't like new concepts! New concepts, as far as a human was concerned, couldn't have existed. "You can do that?"

"With almost mind-numbing ease." Ylwa yawned. Simple enough, but with undeniable tedium. Like counting leaves, or regrowing limbs. "And it's nothing new. My ancestors have been doing this for centuries. Do you think the Great Hexagonal Prisms of Egypt would have made for an interesting landscape? We even have a name for these modifications: a retroactive continuity."

"It's common enough that you named it."


"And you say it's easy."

"I daresay a monkey could do it."

"Then why don't you do this constantly?"

"For all you know, perhaps some of us do." Not that she or anyone else would know it. After they were done, she wasn't even privy to her own retroactive continuities. That was, indeed, how they worked. It occurred to her then that this one would likely result in her never having met Dora and that added some degree of pleasantness to the chore. "Me personally, though? I don't see much point in life if it's all tailored to one particular result."



Van said...

What do you do when you write yourself into a corner? Incorporate retcons into the physics of your universe.

I win the internet, we can all go home now.

mimusofbellingar said...

Bad Van! Really bad! xP
Though I'm a bit leery about Ylwa's last sentence, because it sounds like something else will go wrong instead.

Van said...

Heh, what can I say? The demographic-driven, usually-one-post-per-in-story-month format that Naroni is sporting these days doesn't really lend itself to conflict-driven stories that would require more intense focus. The choices for this arc at this point were either everything turning out perfectly to the point of being unsatisfying, or one hell of a depressing, super-heavy sociological torture story doomed to a miserable ending and requiring either the jerkification of established non-jerks or bringing in new jerks to make the storyline jerkier.

It was either a rock or a hard place, so instead I dug a tunnel. XD