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Different Outcome Part 1 - Different Outcome Part 2 - Different Outcome Part 3

"Different outcome part 1"

The cigarette butt landed in a shower of sparks as it hit the ground.
The young man was almost the office, just had to cross one more street, enter the building and flick his card over the reader.

Today didn't feel like it would be a good day.
The whole week he had significant trouble falling asleep, waking up and staying focused.
Third time this week he nearly missed his train, so far he had managed to avoid disaster but one more late arrival and he'd be in trouble fore sure.

As he reached the street, stopping to let a car past, he checked his watch.
'15 minutes....'
He still had time... With his daily commute he'd either be 10 minutes late every day or up to 20 minutes early.

Through the thick fog he saw the bicycle shed to his left, bus stop to his right and that was it, even the office building itself was shrouded from with but he could still make out its contrours

Reaching inside a pocket, he pulled out his phone and skipped the song that was playing.
It was too cheerfull for his liking, he felt like hearing something gloomy.

Then, right between the songs, a woman's voice called out to him.

"Mister Seraphine!"

Surprised, he paused his music and stopped in the middle of the street, looking around.

Had he imagined it?
Wouldn't be the first time a sound effect in a song distracted him, but it sounded like it was coming from the bike shed.

He gazed at it, peering through the bush nad fog obscuring his vision.
'Nothing there...'

Or was there, a faint slither of movement in the shed, something dark slid past the gaps of the paneling... it almost looked inviting.
He checked his watch again, still 14 minutes left before his shift would start.
"meh..." he muttered to himself as he headed to the shed.

The fog seemed to thicken with each passing step, becoming an impenetrable wall just as he entered the shed.
Freezing on the spot, he gasped as he beheld a beautiful young woman in a dress that seemed very much out of place somehow.
The fabric looked very dense but razor thin, panels covered certain parts of her body while leaving others exposed.
Almost like a dress made for battle, he caught himself enjoying the sight and quickly looked away, fumbling for his cigarettes and lighter.

"Hello again Deetex..." she said, her soft musical voice carrying through his earplugs and the music he was playing.
He heard her crystal clear, but pretended he didn't, pulling the plugs out and faining disinterest.
And as he did that he cursed himself for doing so.

"Excuse me?"

She smiled, a wicked grin that completely overruled all his thoughts.

"Oh sure enough you remember me?"

Fumbling for words, he merely looked at her, like a schoolboy with a crush he merely stood there.

"After all..." She continued.
There was something familiar about her, but he just couldn't remember.
"We were married once."

Then it struck him.


Giggling, she confirmed him.
"Hello husband."

"How did you, when did... how..." 
He stopped himself, contemplating the torrent of questions that raced through him, finally deciding on what he wanted know most.
"Why are you here?"
A long time ago he had been a member of an online community, roleplaying and making up elaborate stories revolving around a game.
There were some he liked, others he hated with a passion, often he was accused of being arrogant and short-tempered, but skilled and creative.
She was one of those he liked, a brilliant mind in a beautiful body he developed affections for, and evidently there she stood.
The community grew back than, they were more than nameless faceless nobodies on an internet forum, they were friends, family even, sharing amongst eachother everything that happened.
He had told them when he got his current job, proud at it at time but nowadays... just another deadend day to day that got him his three squars and pack of smokes.

"Isn't it obvious?" 

He knew that tone of voice all too well... it had been a decade since he last had to enforce his position, but now his sense of command came flooding back.
"Pretend it isn't... explain it to me and stop wasting my time."
He could not believe he just said that, flawlessly emphasizing his point and pronunciation.
Back then it would've taken him days of practice just ot get close, even the sound of his voice was perfect now.

She merely smiled in response, pausing only for a second before reaching inside a pocket and pulling out a small object.
Reaching out, she offered a small black leather bound box to him.
"Go ahead, they're quite light, and will help with the quitting."
He had been trying to quick smoking for a while now, once having refused to smoke for almost two years before breaking, then again for 6 months, and gaian for a whole month.
He tried cold-turkey, gradually reducing, even switching to different brands, but without anyone in his life to stop him he always invariably fell back at moments of loneliness or stress.

Accepting and opening the box, he pulled out a single long black cigarette and handed the box back.
Next she handed him a lighter.
It was a small cilindrical object, elegantly carved all over in intricate patterns he found familair in design.
While it looked flimsy, it felt incredibly robust, it wouldn't surprise him if it remained fully intact if he just threw it down to the stone ground beneath them.
Deciding against such drastic measures, he pushed the button, the small device emitted a violant flickering flame that altered between bright white and deep red.

"The lighter is like an emotion stone..." she started.
"The flame represents a user's current state of mind, right now you're very much confused and enraged."

He stared at the flame for a few moments, watching it sputter and flicker, finally willing it to calm down and reduce to a small blob of seering white heat.
"Now what does this mean?" he asked teasingly, bring the device up to his face and lighting the cigarette.
She wasn't kidding, he took a long draw from it and felt the chemicals coursing through him, tasted the vintage and texture, experiencing none of the light headedness normally associated with such mellow forms of tobacco.
He exhaled a long breath, the cloud of smoke rose and disappated against the ceiling of the shed, fading in the fog.
Only then did he notice the fog had completely sealed them in.
Nothing, not even the street not a meter far from the shed remained in sight.
Halfway done with his smoke he checked his watch again.
'13 minutes left...'

"Are you in a hurry?" She asked.
"It seems time is immaterial" He replied, trying hard to avoid staring at her overtly.
She noticed anyway, assuming a posture that was slightly more revealing than before.
Almost like her costume was tailored specifically to his likings, it had everything he thought was attractive, part corset, part battle armor, part fancy dress and yet revealing enough of her figure to keep him from wondering.

She took a few steps forward, gradually drawing closer as he observed her from his peripheral vision, stopping at his side and pressing herself against her.
"You're awefully famailair with me for someone I haven't dealt with in such a long time."
"But we have so much history between us?"
"History?" he scoffed.
"You disappeared, leaving me to fend for myself with those... those children!"
She had taken a hold of his arm, holding him in a partial embrace.
He shook her off, clearly not amused.
Shocked, she took aback.
"What I did had to be done, you know that, it was politics."
He shook her off, taking a step further away from her and looking at her ominously.
Finally he broke, forcing the question that had been on his mind for a decade, burning within etched in his mind.


"ENOUGH STALLING!" a Thunderous voice cut in between them.
He recoiled, gazing about trying to find the source of this new voice.
"He doesn't see!"

"Now now, give her a chance." another voice replied.

"It's been a while, he needs time." Sarah replied.
"My patience is wearing thin, vessel." The first voice remarked.

All his command disappeared from his voice.
"What was...?" the young man squicked.
Quickly regaining his posture, he straightened and focussed on her.
In a defiant gesture he flicked the half-burnt cigarette into the thick fog.
"What game are you playing Sarah?"

"Rememeber the Sarmich, Deetex?"
She took another step forward, more cautiously this time.
"Remember how they controlled everything?"

"I remember what they tried and failed, how events unfolded and the life of my character got shaped because of them, why?"

"What if I told you they were real, that they can shape the universe the way they see fit?"

"I'd call you a religios nut and a fool, and maybe remark on how you've lost your perspective of reality, to be brutally honest. Seriously Sarah, we made those things up to spruce up the story." 
"Well..." She started, as she extended an arm.
Behind her hand the visage of a tall woman appeared, clad in a thin vail that seemed to wave in winds that weren't there.
There was an ethearial beauty to her, something nearly mystical in her grace.
"They are my love, they're real!" 
She was nearly ecstatic in her pronunciation, smiling broadly as the figure behind her stepped closer.
"Hello vessel, I am Aos." the figure responded.

He stood agast, forcefully blinking a few times to make sure he wasn't seeing things.
Sarah giggled once more, genuinely amused by his shock.
"This is to be mine?" the thunderous voice asked.
The young man turned, the voice was coming from behind him!
Through the fog, he saw the figure of a gigantic man walking towards them.
He was enormous, dressed in torn shreds of a garment with a piece of armor here and there covering long scars.
Carrying at his back, he had an equally sized broadsword, still bloodied and scaved.
"Deetex Seraphine, Emperor immortal, allow me to introduce you to Ghaal, Sarmich God of war and death." Sarah stated.

"He doesn't seem like a vessel worthy of my glory." Ghaal yelled.
"Looks can be deceiving my dearest... remember the jester?" Aos replied.
'jester? there was another?' the youth thought.
"He doesn't even know all of us, how is HE perfect for ME?!" Ghaal bellowed.

The young man swallowed, then reaffirmed his stance, confronting the supposed deity.
"You know, it's inpolite to go snooping around another's mind without concent."

Ghaal did not take kindly, he drew his sword and swung it around.
"You want polite, talk to a server!"
"And what will you do?"  the youth replied.
"Kill me? what will that achieve?"

 Ghaal did not reply, he merely stood there holding the giant sword with one hand, the look in his eyes portraying a visage of anger clear as day.
"You are sure this is the one Sarah?" Aos asked.
She beamed as she gave her reply.
"He's perfect, he's brilliant and powerful and most imporant he's ready."

Everything clicked together.
"So.... it's all one big plan, isn't it?"
Turning to Sarah, he started explaining.
"Seducing me, the roleplaying, leaving me for my little brother, then leaving me alone... I'm betting these two were responsible for this deadend job as well, weren't they?"
Crossing his arms, he concluded.
"All of that to make me a loathsome, apathetic and analytical man, alone and hatefull."

"Told you he was quick." Sarah remarked slyly.

"But..." he began, as he started pacing back and forth.
"Your plans are flawed from the onset..."
"EXPLAIN!" Ghaal commanded.

Taking a deep breath, he clasped his hand together and steepled his fingers.
"As Calisto would never be my wife again, neither shall Sarah... you elude to know what happens, therefore you know the entitity Seraphine would never be bound to any master irregardless how powerful they claim to be."

"I Knew it, this was a waste of time!" Ghaal screamed, grasping his broadsword with both hands and preparing to strike.
"Stop." the yound man replied coldly, raising his hand to the would-be god.
"As Calisto would be never be mine, so will Deetex never be yours... perhaps I can offer an alternative..."
He lowered his hand, then carefully inspected Ghaal, then Aos, finally resting his eyes on Sarah.
"I give you another, a lieutenant, as powerful if not more than the man you wanted."
"Speak." Ghaal replied impatiantly.

He took a deep breath, gathering his thoughts and courage.
"I give you the demon, the rogue... instead of some coldly calculating bureaucratic fob... I instead give you me, myself. unbound by the morals that Seraphine enforced upon himself."

A devious grin crept across Ghaals' face, just as expressions of understanding appeared on both Sarah and her avatar Aos.

Ghaal placed a hand on the young man's shoulder, leaning in closer.
He was truly enormous, standing at almost three meters tall and incredibly well build.
"I accept." He said, as his hand suddenly passed through the boy's shoulder and into his chest.
A gust of wind picked up as Ghaal emerged himself into the body of the unsuspecting youth, being absorbed in full before the eyes of Sarah and her Deity.

The ordeal was over in only a few seconds.
The new avatar closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, spreading his arms.
"Well..." he said tauntingly.
"Isn't this something new."

He reached his hand out towards the garbage can a few meters away.
Clutching his fist, the can crumbled and collapsed, like it was being crushed by unseen forces.
He smiled broadly, chuckling softly to himself.
Sarah threw herself at him, but he rebuffed her with a firm palm against her chest.
"No, not yet."

With a disturbed look, she gazed at him as he lifted a hand.
"See you in a few thousand, dearest..."
Her eyes widened, realizing what he was doing only mere moments too late.
He snapped his fingers, and disappeared in a puff of smoke....