WarSpell: The Merge – Snippet 04

11:42 PM EST, Dec 30

Base Housing, Ft Benning, Georgia

Major Bradford Sims yawned and stretched as much as he could in the recliner. Deciding that he couldn’t get a really good stretch that way, he gave up, stood up and stretched again. Wow, that nap really helped, he thought, I feel great. Glancing at the clock on the mantle, Brad realized he’d been asleep for about two hours.

The sounds Brad made moving around brought a question from his wife.

“Brad, are you coming to bed?” Marie asked from the bedroom. “I hated to wake you, you were sleeping so well. It just seemed silly to wake you up to go to sleep.”

“And I really appreciate it too. I was kind of whacked,” Brad answered. “I’ll be there in a few minutes. Now that I have some energy, I think I’ll review my game notes. See if I can find a way out of that dungeon you put me in.”

“Snicker, snicker, bub. Magreth put you there for a reason, you barbarian warrior. Serves you right too.”

“Now, Marie, you know that treasure is the reward for a job well done. How was Ulrich supposed to know that the treasure was a magic artifact that belonged to you?” Brad stopped for a moment, wondering. Memories of being Ulrich, memories from a childhood Brad had never experienced were in his head. Where had they come from?

“We’ll see if you get out next week, when we host the game,” Marie answered, distracting him from his thoughts, “I’ll be working on a new spell, you know. I made it up to seventeenth level tonight. Not bad for someone who’s only been playing since we moved to Benning.”

“Well, we joined a game in progress and started at fairly high level so it’s not that great an achievement, Toots. You know, if you’re going to keep talking, you might as well come out here. What have you been doing while I was napping, anyway? You want a glass of wine?”

“Sure,” Marie answered, her voice coming nearer. “I kind of took a little nap myself, as a matter of fact. I was tired from a long day of pushing paper. I had some weird dreams, though. It’s really kind of silly, but I woke up feeling like I’m really Magreth. I even have memories of her childhood. It must have been one heck of a dream.”

“So did I, come to think of it,” Brad answered, as he poured the wine into two glasses. “Well, I didn’t wake up feeling like Magreth, but I feel like Ulrich, sort of. Maybe we’re getting too involved in the game, do you think? I had a really strong dream, too. It seems like you were there, as Magreth, and I was there as Ulrich. I don’t really remember much else, though.”

Brad turned to hand Marie her glass and stopped, surprised by what he saw. “Umm, did you color your hair or something? It looks, I don’t know, darker redder, or something.”

Marie was looking at him strangely. “No. It’s the same as always. Have you been working out? You look bigger. Like I always imagined Ulrich would, if he were real. You’re all muscles and brawn, with all that barbarian vigor.” Marie paused a moment and looked him up and down. “It’s kind of hot.”

Brad’s eyes glittered a bit, as he surveyed Marie, slowly. “Hot?”

“Yeah,” Marie answered. “That kind of hot.”

Marie took her wine glass from Brad’s hand and took a slow sip, glancing at him from heavily lidded eyes. When she spoke, her throaty voice reverberated in his skull. “You know, Ulrich, my friend,” she murmured, as she ran her fingers down his chest, letting him feel the edge of her long nails. “I’ve always been a little attracted to you barbarian types. You have, ah . . . certain attributes, let’s call them. There are a few things about you that I find intriguing. I don’t suppose you’d like to declare a truce, would you?” Magreth gazed at Ulrich, her eyes gleaming with promise. “I could let you out of this dungeon, Ulrich, assuming you were willing to make it worth my while.”

“Magreth, my friend,” Ulrich crooned, “I’d be more than happy to declare a truce with such a woman.” Ulrich gently touched Margeth’s shoulder, causing the strap of her gown to slide gracefully down her arm. He followed the strap with hot eyes, and let his hand drift closer to her, holding it near enough for her to feel the heat. “Now, about this dungeon….”

Things were just beginning to get interesting when the phone shrilled. Brad and Marie were brought back to reality with a thump.

“Damn,” Marie muttered, reaching for the receiver, while Brad glared at the offending instrument.

“Hello,” Marie said, “Yes, this is Captain Sims…yes he’s here, too. . . . Yes. Okay. We’re on our way.” Hanging up, she got up and headed for the shower. Brad could hear the water running, briefly, while Marie took what had to be the shortest shower on record. He continued to lay flat on the bed for a few moments.

Marie called, “Fun’s over, bud. Up and at ’em. Shower’s are definitely called for, and then we’ve got to put on our uniforms.”

“I can’t move. I’m too disappointed,” Brad griped. “Who called and why do I have to put on a uniform?”

“Come along, great warrior. Don’t you realize what just happened?”

“Besides what looked like it was going to be something really great being interrupted by that instrument of the devil? What do you mean, Marie? Why should we get a call, and why put on uniforms this hour?”

“It’s time to start using the big head, Brad. We’ve just been alerted. From some of the things I was just told, I think magic works, the dreams are real. I also think some of our superior officers have figured that out,” Marie answered.

Brad ran for the shower, beginning to understand. Magic, working magic, would mean that Marie, as a seventeenth level natural wizard would be very useful. Brad, as Ulrich, was an eighteenth level warrior. Brad wondered what effect that would have on his combat readiness evaluation. Then, even as he wondered, he knew. Green Beanies were sniveling babes. Seal Team Six were ninety-eight pound weaklings. Batman was toast. The Hulk and Superman might be problems. Knife, sword, crossbow, longbow, and even if a modern combat was unfamiliar to Ulrich, he could use it better than most. Besides, the rifle was not unfamiliar to Brad. The world had just changed, drastically.

He dropped a hand onto the bed post as he passed, and flipped over the king size bed, landing on cat feet on the other side, continuing to the shower.