Sunday, August 30, 2015


The relic I was hunting down was an ancient one, with sparse records of its use dating as far back as Roman times. Of course, given the mythical origins of all relics, Humanity's first contact with this particular relic might have been even earlier, especially given the nature of this relic.

Its name was Decimation, so named after the ancient Roman punishment. In truth, the Roman practice was only a pale approximation of Decimation's abilities, which is rather chilling to consider. Whereas the practice of decimation was the removal of a tenth of a population, Decimation, when activated against a selected victim, erases the victim from history. And the victim's ancestors. Tenfold, back ten generations.

If observing from a point of view isolated from the time ripples resulting from Decimation's use, as allowed by certain other relics, then Decimation might be considered amongst the deadliest of relics. Entire races and civilizations have been erased from history by the removal of one or more key persons, or their ancestors.

The current owner of this relic was living in an utterly nondescript home in the suburbs, without any of the trappings of grandeur that most owners fall into. I might even have been convinced that he was unaware of the relic's magical nature, but the use of nondetection veils had already suggested otherwise.

Based on my research, he was simply a professor of history at a small university. I suppose he must have come across Decimation during one of his work trips overseas, several of which were apparently partly self-funded; it was possible that he was actively seeking out the relic through his travels in South America and Central Africa.

I waited until the professor had fallen asleep before breaking into his home. I did this with the help of a lesser relic, of course; teleporting in was the stealthiest option, though I lost the ability to make a quick escape. There was no choice. The relic had to be secured at all costs, as any use would be catastrophic.

My calculations proved to be incorrect. I did not manage to retrieve Decimation, as it was locked securely behind the steel walls of a safe. At the same time, the professor would not have been able to use the relic in defence. But he didn't need to; perhaps my overspecialization in fighting other relic owners blinded me.

I heard a distinct click in the darkness of the room. The cocking of a hammer. A human shadow against the cracks for the blinded window.

"I suppose you've come for the relic." the Professor spoke from across the room.

The distance was too far to bridge in an instant. Not all was lost, though; he seemed willing to speak. If I could drag things out, then there might be a moment of distraction sufficient for me to close in. Given the cover of darkness, he might even miss me.

"You don't know the power of what you have, do you?"

"I'm afraid you're incorrect. Regrettably, I do know."

Perhaps it was the silence of the night, or the tension of the situation, but I felt a chill down my spine. It was not possible- he couldn't have.

"D-did you-"

"Yes. But I'm not insane, you know, nor a monster. I just wanted to know whether it was all true. Whether relics indeed exist. But rest assured that I'm not insane; I'm not going to risk deleting myself and Western civilization just to learn something. That's why I'm wielding a gun, not Decimation. "

"But you did use Decimation?"

"Yes. If anything, the greatest difficultly was figuring out a scenario to apply it with minimal consequences to known history. Obviously, I couldn't use it anywhere in the modern world; people are too interconnected and interbred to take such a risk. Sure, I could be fairly confident that I wouldn't be erasing my ancestors, but I wouldn't want to accidentally eliminate, say, the inventor of the internet or some major historical figure. Any changes could easily have cascading aftereffects."

If he had used the weapon, then-

"The problem, then, was to find the least important and most isolated populations of people. Suffice to say that I've tested its effects to my satisfaction. And gladly, nothing has changed, except for a few footnotes here and there."

At this moment, I didn't know whether a good opportunity had presented itself, but I found myself charging forward all the same.

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