Time Web Gambit

Image by Faizal Sugi from Pixabay

The corridor reeked of infinity, high walls reached into the ether, coated by currents of power flowing heavenwards into the cosmic abyss. The walls ran along the unspooling web of time that shifted and glitched with pulses of energy. The web spun down the unending hall, each white tendril a scattering of potential, vibrating from one instance of reality to the next and back again, only coalescing in fixed points with other tendrils when bundled together by the Time Keeper.

The shifting, partly bound universe had been tended to like a vine curling around a lattice, guided on its growth throughout the ages.

“Who bundles the timelines?” Freidnick asked. The Time Keeper ignored him as he guided him along the chaotic time web. Freidnick prodded him with the crossbow, “Don’t forget, I’m not afraid to use this.”

The Time Keeper sighed and turned to face his captor; his technicoloured cloak rippled with the motion and hid his face. “I am aware, however not of how you arrived here with your sanity intact.”

“I went insane when Kreit died… are we close?”

The Time Keeper hesitated, the silence filled with the thrumming power of the web as it shifted and crackled. “It’s not far,” he gestured for them to continue.

“Why bind sections of the time web?” Freidnick asked.

“Each tendril you see represents potential sequences of events. If it flickers upwards an earthquake destroys a city. Down, the city planner built a city strong enough to survive. To the left, no earth quake at all… Infinitesimally small variations of just one tendril’s path could spell infinite events. Where I have bundled happenings, it was because the worst potential of a tendril was too severe to risk. I direct the sequence to something more survivable to negate the risk of utter catastrophe.”

“But catastrophe happens, old man.”

The Time Keeper laughed, “Aye, but life perseveres. Sometimes, in binding a tendril away from disaster, another tendril must be bound into lesser disaster. It is my duty to choose the lesser evils. For instance,” he stopped at a binding of red cord, “Here a volcano could blanket the world in darkness, but I bound it away from that. Now the volcano simply smoulders, but only if it binds another tendril in an unfortunate place. Now across the sea a rebellion slaughters many… it is, difficult.”

“But the volcano is not destined to erupt should you not intervene, tere is infinite potential if left untended? You could take that risk and not condemn a nation to war.”

“No, the volcano may not destroy the world if time was left to run its own course, but that is too high a risk to take.”

After a time, they came to a bundled knot, the white crackling of time potentiality raged against the binding.

“What is this?” Freidnick asked.

“This is the point in time where Kreit was murdered.”

“It’s bound… you did this?”

“Yes,” The Time Keeper nodded, “To prevent a great evil from rising, I bound the tendril in place with your friend’s death.”

Freidnick drew his knife.

“What are you doing?” The Time Keeper started.

“If I cut the cord, the separate tendrils split into infinite potential. The evil may not be, but Kreit may live.”

“It’s too great a risk!”

“Have faith in our ability decide our own fate. We can sail the tendrils of time to bring about a different outcome. For him, it’s a risk I’ll take!” Freidnick slashed the cord.

The bundle snapped and the bound currents of time exploded into a shifting multitude of infinites. Now evil had a chance to reign, but his friend had a chance to live – a gambit worth the risk.

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