“Time it was and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of consequences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you”

“It is with this promotion to Ler Commodore that I believe our nation will see a rise in defenses. In such trying times, it’s important for all Vekaiyuns to adopt the added security of knowing there is a man quite capable of protecting our borders from a harsh world. I have no doubt in my mind he will serve the position… almost as good as I did.” She paused for echoing laughter in the large auditorium decorated with vintage artwork and marbled features.

Ikrisia listened to Selvala, her superior, bubble over yet another promotion in the Vekaiyun armed forces. It seemed like that was the only thing she knew what to do anymore in regards to the juggernaut of an army. Promotions. Moving people around. Meddling in their affairs. She wanted to say something, tell her to leave her reaching hands out of the military’s business, but each objection she gave inched her closer to a possible demotion. What a quandary. “I don’t even know who this man is… and he’s in charge of our defenses? What the heck is going on?”

“…Still, this was a necessary promotion. Ehjy has proved himself a capable soldier and a gifted tactician, gifted in the sense he appears to have very little military training, yet served the nation well in the days of Venavle and in dealing with his stresses on our nation. While he was deposed of his position as Arch-Ler Commodore due to health concerns, I am certain his recovery will be a blessing for the nation the Almighty has blessed as His own.”

“Health concerns?” Ikrisia thought as she shifted in her seat. “Since when does she speak of health concerns in a passing tone like that? She’s quick to call Evesuni a vulpine with a walking pair of cancer bags, but she’s so forgiving to this guy?”

“It is therefore my pleasure to present the new Ler Commodore of Vekaiyu, Ehjy Nimuos!”

Ikrisia watched as a relatively tall and lanky vulpine walked up to the stage amidst applause from the audience numbering in the thousands, no doubt. Luckily for her, due to her position of status in the nation, she had pretty good seats. He smiled as he saluted Kivia McEva and stood to attention when he addressed the crowd with a warm smile.

“Thank you, Kivia McEva, I’ll try not to trip over your shadow too much as I attempt to fill your big shoes.” He looked back at her as she laughed, along with a few members in the audience. “On a serious note, it’s an honor to be standing here…”

Ikrisia stared at the vulpine male behind the podium. “Where the heck have I seen this guy before? And… Selvala laugh? About something that’s kind of funny, almost poking fun at her? Did she recently visit the dentist? If so, I’ll have to thank them, they gave her way too much nitrous oxide…”

“I am thankful for the trust you have placed in me. While I am young, I come from a background where twenty one kits were forced to compete against each other, doing anything they could to prevent experimentations performed on themselves by rising above the others. Some attacked the designated leader of our clan, but he was far too powerful. So, some of us simply picked off the weaker ones, one by one. Project Uveshk was an important project that attempted to create a perfect race of vulpine men and women. It was hidden for so long, but now it’s all out in the open, Ikrisia. Yes, Ikrisia, I remember where you came from - you came from the same cloth I was cut from. And now that you’ve forgotten this, ignored your family and attempted to assimilate to a new one, it’s time to end your pathetic life, once and for all.” He slowly drew a gun from the podium and pointed it directly at her head. “I’ll see you in hell!”

“No!” Ikrisia shouted.

She blinked her eyes and realized it was all just a dream. What a dream it was. As she looked at the thousands of people staring back at her, she ducked her head and sat down, wanting to be as small as a fly so she could get out of the auditorium.

“Well, it appears our Kral Commodore doesn’t feel we need to strengthen our defenses against the chaotic nation of Bai Lung after all.” He laughed and smiled warmly at her as others joined in. “No need to sink into your seat, I’m well aware of the mind sometimes trying to make us listen to two conversations at once. But that’s what we all need to do - we have to be able to listen to all our neighbors and discern between ally and foe…”

Ikrisia rubbed her eyes. “Not another one… why can’t I be left alone? Do they all have connections? Why is it that I always seem to keep running into project members?” She paused as she watched Ehjy continue to woo the audience with his unusual charm and words. “Whatever happened to Leyuski? He would’ve known what to do.” Her body continued to shift anxiously in her seat.

((Earlier in the previous day’s evening))

Bending the wills of the universe was a Voxian Catholic’s way of life. The creole religion combined old forms of gypsy paganism that once cascaded over the lands of Listonia with the Vayan Catholicism so fondly received in Vekaiyu. What remained was a religion where people took what they want, leaving the rest on the table, almost completely ignoring whatever meanings they held. For early Voxians, it was theirs to edit as they pleased.

The religion had been losing favor with people, though. Listonians overt the years sided with Vayan Catholicism, as it was the religion of the rebellion for an independent state. Sevropians and Dverians condemned the religion, calling it nothing more than gypsy fortune telling with Christian undertones. Many abandoned the religion as it was thought to be dangerous. After all, when one communicates to the open air, anything, good or bad, could always respond.

But for Evesuni, his religion served him well. Unusually well, it seemed. Maybe it was luck or karma paying him back for losing his family. It didn’t really matter to him. He took what he wanted, and left the rest on the table. And his table - his desk - riddled with intricate carvings only a true Voxian like himself could understand, was his workspace.

He ran his fingers over a series of concentric circles, supposedly representing health. The burned newspaper ash over the circles concerned him slightly. He knew somehow he was in danger. Or, at least that’s what the symbolism meant. It could always be wrong, of course. But not to someone who shut doors to other explanations.

“I’m not as young as I once was,” he confessed while coughing. “And with the seventh sector blocked, more turmoil can be expected.” He folded his arms and slowly put his head down.


He looked up, not really alarmed at the sound of his name being called. While this really didn’t happen, or wasn’t supposed to happen, it for some reason didn’t alarm him. After all, it was probably another sound altogether. He was alone, so that was the best logic he could come up with.

“Kirin Stapen Evesuni…”

He looked to his left as his ears focused in front of him. Nothing. But that time he heard it loud and clear. No one had ever called him by his middle name in the past… 20 years or so. He sat there silently, impassively, waiting for the voice to speak again.

“You are in great danger, Kirin Evesuni. I have looked into the stars, and they are sided with the Almighty… their test is complete, and the river will flow with vines. I do not think you will pass.”

He rubbed his eyes, then used his hands to rub his face. “Almighty, I need to sleep.”

“There will be plenty of time to do that when you fall.”

He sighed. “Alright. Who’s there?”

“I do not need to give out that information”

“Yes, you do. If you are indeed a spirit, you must address yourself. It is within the bounds according to the Book of Rab.”

“I am not bound to your faith, Kirin. I choose not to reveal my identity, to keep everything hidden to see just how far you believe in my warnings. I want to see how strong… or weak… you really are.”

He sighed as he cast some sand out on the table. “You’re more dark than light. That much has been revealed.”

“According to your peasant magic, I am. Perhaps you need a little something to understand my reason for contacting you. You’ve done interesting things with this nation of Listonia. But your own mortality prevents you from really advancing further. Therefore, trust me, and I will help you. There will be a great clock spread out in front of you. Trust daybreak, and avoid the twelve, for twelve is both noon and midnight and always lies. Instead, allow time to stop on the three. Other than that, leave the clock as you left it. Do not touch anything else on it, or death will be yours.”

Evesuni furrowed his brow. “And why should I trust that?” He waited for a response, but nothing came. “Clock?” he whispered to himself, propping his head up with an open palm. “Why can’t these damn things ever say something straight?” he finally added.

Evesuni gasped as he sat up in bed, the aftershock of a nightmare still fresh in his mind. But, it was only an aftershock, nothing more. He couldn’t remember the nightmare, but it was there, somewhere, nestled in his subconscious tucked in between the folds of his mind. Probably to remain there forever, or at least until it’s replaced by another hopefully more pleasant memory.

He shut his mouth as his heart pounded into his neck. Looking down at his hands, he moved them up, then underneath his sleeveless t-shirt, placing his hands on the source of the throbbing. Back to reality. Not a dream. After all, one can’t feel their own heartbeat in a dream. He practiced this often, as he trained himself to dream lucid dreams, dreams that could be manipulated to his own desires, dreams he could dream to map out scenarios, play out instances, or re-live moments of the past. It was artificial, but it was an escape.

“Color,” he said. He didn’t know why he said it, but the apparent color of his room startled him, even though it hadn’t changed since he had retired to bed, hours ago.


Evesuni’s ears perked up. He knew of problems regarding spirits attaching themselves to people only to torment them, but it couldn’t happen to him. He was a Voxian, one who can bend spirits and bend the future. It couldn’t happen to him.


“What do you want now?” he asked.

“Why did you wake up?”

He ran a hand through his hair as the other hand rubbed his eyes, then his forehead. “Because I am real, and you are not. You are, and always will be, a half-reality.”

The disembodied voice laughed. “All you have to do is trust me. As I said, you woke up. You asked me to show you something, but you woke up.”

Evesuni paused. “What did I ask to see?”

“One hundred years into the future.”

The Listonian dictator cringed. “Did I like it?”

“I only met you in person once prior to our recent meeting, Kirin. I never knew you could scream, especially with those lungs coated in tar.”

“Show me again. Show me a different scenario.”

“Do you believe the future is set in stone, or can be altered if one person changes one thing?”

“The latter.”

The spirit laughed again. “It is the former, Kirin. And the sooner you understand that, the more at peace you will become. The future cannot be changed, for it is set in time, just like the past. For your future is someone else’s past. And you cannot transcend time. Not with your mortal body. And you will never be able to change time for what it must be. Perhaps tomorrow you’ll quit smoking for good. But time was meant to adjust to that. Perhaps not. Time is adjusted to that too, Kirin. There is nothing you can do to stop it. Second after second. Minute after minute. Lifetime after lifetime.”

“Suppose I didn’t exist,” he replied. “What then?”

“Then it no longer becomes a part of time. It becomes a variant of time, a flasehood. A dream, Kirin. Nothing more. Had you never lived, one trillion different scenarios could have occurred. But they didn’t. It’s wasteful to think of such things. Instead, all happens because it was meant to happen. You, like everyone here, are rigid. Trapped. A brick of time.”

“I refuse to believe that.” He stood up from his bed, moving the suspenders attached to his pants back over his shoulders. “I am free to choose as I see fit.”

“Indeed you are. But time is already adjusted to that choice. Just as you stepped out of bed, time has already adjusted to that. Since the beginning of time, Kirin. Now and forever.” The voice paused. “It’s only natural for mortals such as yourself to not totally grasp that. But it doesn’t matter if you don’t want to. You can’t control it. Just like you cannot control the sun. Now, do you really want to see the future you helped to create, again?”

Evesuni walked over to a chair and slowly sat down in it. He looked down. “Why?”

“Why not?”

“If I choose not to, nothing will change. If I choose to, nothing will change. But it’s all pre-determined, as you seem to elude to.”


“Well then, why not… show me my death.”

"No. You will only see what I allow you to see. Trust me. There are things that you were not meant to see… until that time comes.

“Then show me the future, as you showed me before.”

“You will not wake up this time?”


“So be it, Kirin. Prepare to be amazed once again.”