On Ordeal: Ronan Nolan Jnr | DianeDuane dot com

On Ordeal: Ronan Nolan Jnr

Third in the Interim Errantry: On Ordeal trilogy
On Ordeal: Ronan Nolan Jnr

Once upon a time there was a kid who lived in the Dublin suburbs and never once even considered believing in wizards... until he found he could be one.

Ronan had always felt himself both the odd man out, the guy nobody really got, the one who couldn't figure out where he fit in -- and the one who didn't stand out, who got lost in the crowd, who was never going to be anything unusual... just one more also-ran in a world that just seemed to be getting worse all the time. He was slowly starting to feel as if there wasn't any particular point in life, because he was never going to make that much of a difference to anyone or anything.

Then Life took an interest.

Without warning Ronan Nolan Junior was about to find himself the crux of an argument between forces older than Earth itself... and the recipient of an unfolding challenge that would change many more worlds than just one.

You handed him the Oath just like that? Seriously?

Just like that.

A suspicious pause. A little rushed, wouldn’t you say? Not going to get the best response out of him under these circumstances.

Now there’s something I wouldn’t imagine you caring about one way or the other! One more failed wizard? I’d think that’s a positive result for you.

You know… I’m starting to wonder why you’re so interested in my reactions, one way or the other.

Oh?

Yes. In fact I don’t imagine we’ve had this long a chat about anything for…

You’re going to try to do this in local time periods, are you? This should be fun. …Then again, you were always big on trivia.

…Years, it would be here, wouldn’t it? Quite a lot of them. I have a vague memory that something very large sinking into the sea would have been involved. What was its name again?

A slightly pained pause. There would have been quite a few.

Afállonë, yes, that was one. Atalantë, the Downfallen Land. Atlantis… And a pause not at all pained, but entirely too darkly pleased. Death by water; so inevitable, one way or another. Such a lovely symmetry, when life here arose from it.

A sigh. Your point being?

Well, if you’re in such a hurry, then you won’t mind me rushing things a little.

A concerned pause. Wait. You don’t mean to—

Yes I do.

...In the first twenty-four hours?

Why not? Let’s see if he’s as good as you think he is. If not— And what follows, rippling many surrounding dimensions with with subspace-deep unease, is what even human beings would recognize as a shrug. What’s the problem? You can always make another.

And to the speaker's considerable surprise, to this there is no response.