It had been an odd week at Grand Café Van Amstel in Amsterdam. Last week, a man had come in and ordered a beer. He had sat down at a table, and had not moved for the rest of the day. When it got to closing time, the man had refused to move, insisting he wanted to speak to the manager, and preferably, the owner. The owner and manager had finally showed up, and after a few minutes had told the staff that the man was not to be disturbed, and that they should all just ignore his presence as long as he did not draw their attention himself.
That was over a week ago, and the man had not moved from his chair in the back of the Grand Café. After a few days, the strangeness of the man’s continued presence had been brought down to weirdness, and by the 7th day, it had become simple eccentricity. The man sat at his table, stared at his beer, which was periodically refreshed, bothered nobody and nobody bothered him.
On the 8th day, a man with long gray hair, purple glasses and a gray suit walked in. He looked around the place and ordered up a glass of red wine. While he waited for his drink, he took a small item from his pocket. He took of his glasses, revealing white eyes set in black ridges around them, and peered through the item. It looked like a shard of green glass, or possibly even a large gem. When he looked in this way at the strange man who had been sitting in the café for over a week now, he put the item back in his pocket. After taking his wine and paying with only coins, he walked towards the table where the strange man was sitting and sat down directly opposite of him.
“Thou art John Sublime,” The gray haired man said.
The strange man said nothing.
“Thou art John Sublime” the gray haired man repeated, “and I am Modred”
The stranger looked up at Modred, and nodded almost imperceptibly.
“Thyne acknowledgement pleases me, Sir Sublime” Modred said, “It is not every day that one such as I encounters a being of thyne stature. Thou art old, old enow that thou might have looked upon the one I call master”
Sublime did not react.
“I have in mine possession an account of an occurrence years back. I am quite certain thou art in it. Doth thou know, perhaps why that is?” Modred said, and put a book on the table, entitled “Private Journal of General Friedrich von Paulus”.
For a short moment, Sublime’s eyes seemed to grow larger, but he quickly settled back into his disinterested gaze.
“I am curious, master Sublime. Doth thou not find it passing strange that thou not recogniseth thyne own involvement?”
John Sublime’s hand shot forth suddenly, and grabbed the book from the table. His beer spilt over he table, but all his thoughts were consumed by the book he now had in his hands.
“The tale only becomes interesting in the final pages,” Modred said with an evil smile, as he took an hourglass from his pocket and put it on the table. First the sand poured downwards like normal, but as Sublime read the pages of the Journal, his eyes grew wide, and the sand started moving back up, inexplicably. Modred grew excited at the sight.
“Yes! Yes, master Sublime! Thyne recollections power my understanding! Show me! Show me what ne’er happened upon this world! Show me the one responsible! Show me the source of the rewritten history!” Modred shouted, drawing attention to himself from both customers and staff.
A vision hit Modred, of a world on the verge of extinction through genetic warfare. The world had become a war-zone, and at the center of it was Hank McCoy, white-furred and taken over by the essence that now inhabited John Sublime. Then, a great bird of fire took control and destroyed Sublime, and the vision ended.
“No! No! This was not the vision I sought!” Modred screamed at the top of his lungs, as Sublime read on.
“I know a drug was the key to thyne victory once, as the fire-bird unmade thee!” Modred spoke softly to Sublime, “But I seek the moment time was reversed once more! What is the key? Where lies the secret to temporal chaos?”
“I will show you!” Sublime said, and grabbed Modred’s hands in his, “Your plots are as nothing to me! I shall endure! I was old when your master rose from the pit! I was old when your master was forced to leave this plain of existence. And I will be enduring still when even your bones are dust, left behind like the dead end you and your ways represent!”
Modred shivered, and received another vision. This time, he saw John Sublime walking through the wreckage of Stalingrad. Other’s were with him, such as the Immortal being Saul of The Externals, the Witch Aghatha Harkness, the dreaded Selene of the Hellfire Club, an Avatar of the Norse God Loki, and other long-lived mortals such a the Mutant Mystique. Yet one caught Modred’s eye. A golden clad woman with blue hair, wielding a spear. She struck them down, one by one, until the mortal Mystique struck her down. As the body fell, Mystique started going through the possessions of those present. A sound caught her attention, as a man, a soldier, fled the scene, leaving a book behind. It was the Journal. Mystique picked the book up, and looked upon all the bodies littering wrecked Stalingrad. The body of the blue-haired woman disappeared, and….
Modred was awakened from his vision by the shattering of the hourglass. When he looked on the shattered glass and spilt sand, the Journal lay on the table. John Sublime sat at his table, staring at his beer like he had ben when Modred walked in. The beer had not been spilt. Time had reversed and corrected its ripple.
“I thank thee for thy time, master Sublime” Modred aid as he was about to get up and leave. Then he remembered the first vision, the one that had seemed irrelevant at first. He remembered how Sublime had taken control of Hank McCoy. It was through a drug… A drug containing his essence. Modred took a knife from his pocket, and cut Sublime with it, spilling his blood. Modred carefully wrapped the knife in a silken piece of cloth he had with him, and put the knife back in his pocket. Then he got up and left Sublime to his beer.
“How am I involved I your dealings, Mystic? I am an eternal being, but I am of reality, of knowledge, of science” Sublime suddenly said without looking up.
Modred smiled, and walked back to the table, He bent forward to whisper in Sublime’s ear.
“When science and magic meet, chaos results” Modred said with a smile, and left Sublime without looking back. Once outside in the street, Modred took another item from his pocket. It looked like a compass, and Modred looked at it, concentrating on what he sought. The needle started to move and glowed a deep red.
“I love chaos” Modred said to himself, “An ordered universe would never grant me the lucky coincidence that the one I seek is that close!”a