please note, if spelling etc here is atypically rough i probably couldn’t check it. i’m having unexpected gallblader surgery.
Kyle watched Ralph, Tim, and Jessie’s amazement with pleasure as he spun illusions over the auto lot. The macro he’d created for this spell was one of his most complex. He could move the clouds, the sleigh, the snow, and a few other components individually. Each item had several animations in addition to their default state, and he could adjust some of the colors. It felt like he was directing a team.
For a while he lost himself in the illusion. He put drifts in front of SUVs and let them bust through them in shining glitter. He turned patches of ground beneath four wheel vehicles to ice. The illusions couldn’t interact with anything, but they looked impressive and he thought they might emphasize the the vehicles’ winter capabilities. He needed to give Ralph good money for his advertising dollar. He also sent the Santa sleigh over any crowds he could see in the surrounding area. He buzzed stores, restaurants, the local school, a movie theater that was at the edge of his range. The auto lot soon started to draw crowds.
Then, there was a change in the spell. The illusion clouds darkened and started to thin in places. He looked at his power meter thinking he might have lost a battery, but they were all showing a solid charge. Actually he had even more than he would have estimated; plenty to finish the day. Kyle hadn’t yet found the time to connect the RealDreams built in diagnostic suite to the specialized light emitting spells he’d created for it, so it wasn’t registering anything else. That was OK, he could inspect the spell directly. He centered himself, drew in power, and directed it into the spell above his head taking some control of it away from the autocaster.
Kyle closed his eyes and immersed himself fully in the spell. The impression that gave him was of sitting in the middle of a tapestry of some sort. Threads of magical effect stretched out from where he stood to encompass miles of surrounding sky. The weave of the fabric was energized by the bank of batteries and mostly directed by the RealDreams.
Only somewhere, out at the edge of the tapestry, there was another spinner. They tugged at the pattern in a senseless disordered way. It thrust energy into and pulled energy out of that pattern with no particular rhyme or reason. They were tangling the pattern.
Whoever was yanking on the spell was trying to bring it down. They couldn’t just turn the spell off, they didn’t have access to its Trigger, but they could mess it up. Already the tapestry was badly fouled. Kyle wasted time wondering if this was being done on purpose to make him look bad or if it was a random vandal who simply didn’t like the show. It didn’t really matter.
Kyle, didn’t intend to go down without a fight. Thrusting his mind out into the pattern he began to set things right. His moves were fast and certain. He knew what each part of the spell should look like. He was able to restore it faster than his opponent could tear it apart. After a few minutes work he looked up and found the illusion above them was solid again.
The vandals didn’t give up. His previous attack must have taught him something because, in a moment, he was back on the defensive and working with more pattern than he had before. A whole section of the spell was unraveled. Kyle looked up at the sky to see one of his illusion clouds flickering like a bad fluorescent bulb.
Kyle started to try to fix it then almost laughed. It didn’t matter if one small part of the spell was pulled apart. It moved and reformed as the illusion itself did. Using the RealDreams he selected that cloud, deleted it, and then created a new cloud object in its place.
The force being applied against the spell slacked for several minutes. Kyle probed at the edge of his working, he couldn’t sense any mischief being applied to it. Whoever had been fighting with him had probably given up. Kyle opened his mouth to tell Jessie what was going on, then he felt another attack.
This was the most concerted and energetic thrust yet. A second illusion was cast over top of his. The clouds, snow, and a mile or so off the sleigh all dimmed, wavered, and washed with strange rainbow colors. The change was sudden, and significant, the people below noticed it. Kyle heard a few exclamations and, looking down from his high perch, saw a several people squinting upward at the now blue sky.
The walkie talkie crackled to life and Tom’s voice came from it, “Hey everything alright up there?”
Jessie thumbed it on and replied, “Technical difficulties.’
“What’s going on?”
She looked at Kyle, but he didn’t have time to explain. He was trying to fix it. Jessie apparently took that as the signal to lie like crazy. “There’s probably some sort of electrical charge build up in the ionosphere, or uh, cloud layer above us. Since we’re doing this spell so high in the air the em flux is likely interfering with the flow of magic into the illusion matrix. But that’s a known issue with this type of casting and we just need to adapt our control protocols to the new local environment.”
Kyle raised his eyebrows and Jessie stuck her tongue out at him then shrugged.
He turned back to the spell. Now it was his turn to yank and tug uselessly at magic he didn’t really understand. Worse it was vastly more energetic than he could handle. He was probably facing several well equipped mages. Certainly he was dealing with someone he couldn’t directly overpower. For long angry minutes he fought them uselessly seeking some shortcut to overcome the counterspell. The radio crackled while he did so, and distantly, he realized Jessie was answering it fending off questions from Tim and perhaps Ralph. Hiring her had been a stroke of luck.
With an angry sigh he settled back, stopped fighting the attack for a moment, and really looked at it. The bastards, they’d totally wrecked him, Kyle thought. Then his mouth fell open and he almost laughed.
He’d gotten so wrapped up in fighting that he’d forgotten the nature of his own spell. He reached out and cracked the power dial on the RealDreams up. Even controlling the massive illusions above he’d had it down pretty low. With the power maxed, his illusion washed out the one being cast over it like sunlight hitting a tv screen. The result wasn’t perfect. The extra light made everything look a bit fake, and there were a few spots where the colors seemed a bit off, but he could see the watchers on the ground return to their shopping.
The attackers, whoever they were, didn’t give up easily. But they didn’t understand the spell well enough to do anything. Several times, they found a way to cancel out part of the pattern, but Kyle just moved the spell such that it filled in whatever gaps they made and drowned them out when they tried anything less direct.
At the end of the day Kyle’s batteries were almost drained, but he was able to collect a slap on the back, a promise of more business, and most importantly, his check.