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So I've been doing some serious worldbuilding in the combined Seraphim/Icarus-Sung Li-Boomer world. I really like it so far--it's far future sci-fi fantasy, and so far I think it's pretty coherent.

Anyway, I would like to spit in Mercedes Lackey's eye put this out here, as I now have my requisite emo!magic hero who gets raped by a bunch of other men and then dies while thinking of his lover has a Totally Sweet death.

Kimber Willis of House Sagittarius is a name not often heard outside of Arcanus Corporation, but is nevertheless recognizable in most of human space. It's the sort of name one drops in serious conversation to make a particular point, a name etched on humanity's history despite the fact Kimber himself would have been a man of little consequence if life had gone smoothly for him--House Sagittarius is so low in the pecking order of Arcanus Corporation's politics as to be beneath the Outer Zodiac Houses of Umbra and Eclipse.

Nor was Kimber particularly impressive in person. Short, thin, with bad eyesight and the pale, freckled skin that was an unfortunate side effect of House Sagittarius's breeding program, he was distinctly unimposing. The mousy first impression was only reinforced by his habitual stutter and slight limp from an old training accident. These physical defects, however, concealed a brilliant mind and an incredible magical gift--something Kimber was quite happy to have overlooked by the rest of the Corporation. He was not a man who wanted power, or to be a hero, or to be recognized for his brilliance. All Kimber Willis wanted, ever since he was a boy, was to be left to live the sort of quiet life very few Arcanus magi ever got.

If there was a place to have such a life, though, House Sagittarius was it. The Sagittarian breeding program, a subdivision of the grander plan that all of Arcanus Corporation has for its magi, focused primarily on harnessing the magical gifts of the mind--especially those concerning animals. Owing to the particularly narrow niche that their gifts fell into, and the general peaceful, unaggressive demeanor of most members of House Sagittarius, by the time Kimber was born it had lapsed to the lowest standing of all the Inner Zodiac Houses. In fact, if it weren't for the hereditary shares in the corporation guaranteed to each of the Inner Zodiac household leaders, Sagittarius would likely have been voted off the council in favor of the much more aggressive House Umbra, or the sly trickery of House Eclipse. As it stood, the Sagittarian vote was pretty much ignored on the board of directors anyway--a source of quiet frustration to the House, but nothing they every spoke up about.

Thus, as an unassuming child in an unassuming House, Kimber was allowed to grow up and develop his uniquely powerful magical abilities in peace. This isn't to say he had a particularly NORMAL childhood--House Sagittarius's holdings being on Jupiter's moon of Callisto, "normal" didn't really enter into the picture--but he had a peaceful one, unmolested by the vicious internal politics of most of the Inner Zodiac. It was doubly remarkable in Kimber's case, as he was--unbeknownst even to most of his friends and family--the apex of the Sagittarian bloodline at the time.

He didn't have much in the way of enemies, as it wasn't the way of House Sagittarius to pick fights or be given over to ostentatious. Oh, his mousy ways and apparent lack of much magical strength or physical fortitude got him picked on when he was sent to Ganymede in an exchange program with House Capricorn, but Kimber weathered these incidents with a minimum of hurt and a minimum of tears. Granted, his preference for all but living in a library didn't win him many friends, either--but as like often calls to like, Kimber did meet a young woman in the stacks one day equally as quiet and withdrawn as he was...

It was at the age of twenty-five that Kimber proposed to his sweetheart, Delilah Fairchild. They were married the next Ionian spring, took their honeymoon on Hohenheim, and returned to Io to settle down and raise a small, quiet family. A happy ending?

It was, until the Kebber War interfered. Delilah and Kimber's oldest son, Martin, had his contract bought by the Ts'ao Imperium, who had fielded their army of some hundred thousand souls on New Earth to play rearguard against the encroaching kebberi while the panicked populous evacuated. This was something of a desperation move--Sagittarian magic was not of the offensive sort, but all of the Corporation's other resources had been tapped. None of their other mind-magi could so much as faze the kebberi and their iron morale; most died trying.

Chance--unfortunate for the Willis family but fortunate indeed for the human race on the whole--had Kimber in close contact with Martin when Martin's unit was overrun by the kebberi. The Sagittarian gift served Martin very well in his last moments of life--wounded, trapped, as his father watched in an agony of helplessness, the eldest Willis son managed tenuous mental contact with one of the kebberi soldiers. She hesitated, startled that an "animal" could reach out to her in that way--but where she was stalled for a moment, the rest of her unit wasn't. They tore Martin to pieces.

No parent should have to outlive his child. But even in the agony of grief at having seen/heard/felt his son killed right before his astral eyes, Kimber was smart enough to pick one thing out of the experience--the Sagittarian beast magic could reach out to the kebberi, and it could [i]stop them[/i]. Kimber bid farewell to Delilah and hopped a fast-trans to Ganymede. There he demanded on no uncertain terms to be given the entire Mare Hiberni spell array to himself. When the Capricorn head of house refused, Kimber dropped her where she stood with a bolt of raw fear straight to her unshielded mind.

Then he took the spell array himself, driving out the few Capricorn watch-magi the same way he'd taken out their household head. Left alone on all that ice, Kimber was just one tiny mote in the eye of a potential magical whirlwind--one that he, like Arcanus's archmagi, knew how to unlock. The Mare Hiberni array was not something to be toyed with, and Kimber knew as much--but he didn't care. It was the only thing that had the power he needed, and he seized the opportunity.

The array was designed to be powered up by a team of ten or more magi working in concert, with back-ups in place to catch them if they should fail. Kimber drew on every last resource he had and brought it on-line by himself. Then he reached, reached, reached on pure will, finding an unfortunate kebberi drone and following her back to her greatmother.

No one is quite sure what happened after that. The kebberi don't speak of what made them suddenly retreat that day, and Kimber's desperate ploy nearly destroyed the Mare Hiberni array. It did succeed in ruining the life support spells, so when Kimber collapsed from the shock of his overreach, he had perhaps two seconds before he froze to death and suffocated. But--that critical but--even if his family was soon bereft of a father as well as a son that day, humanity had gained a hero, and a new lease on life beside the chastened kebberi.
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February 2012

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