Going Deeper – Domerin’s Day

Going Deeper – Domerin’s Day

I’ve been exploring the art of connecting to a character’s headspace using writing prompts to delve into their psyche. This week I decided to go a bit deeper by incorporating the answers from my writing exercises into a scene from Domerin’s perspective. Enjoy!

He rarely needed his alarm anymore. He set it every night out of habit, just in case, but he was almost always awake before it beeped. He sometimes missed the comfort of lingering in bed, until he reminded himself that he preferred to be active anyway.

Domerin Lorcasf started that morning the same way he started every morning; he switched off the useless alarm and pulled on the first pair of shorts and t-shirt to come to hand. He already had earbuds shoved into his ears by the time he reached the elevator, heavy metal blasting in his ears to drown out whatever he might meet along the way. Not that he ever encountered anyone at this time of morning.

The sun had only begun to peek over the horizon as he set off down the block. Not at full speed. He wasn’t practicing for a marathon. He just wanted to get blood pumping through his veins again, to shed the lethargy summoned by night and transition back to the activity of day. A cool morning breeze chilled his exposed arms and legs but, soon, he embraced it as refreshing.

He needed this time. It was easier to think with his feet pounding the pavement, the guitar riffs rushing through his eardrums, his heart thumping rapidly in his chest. He didn’t have to think during these morning runs. His legs would inevitably carry him back to the base of his apartment building. He could devote that time to other things; memories, troubles, or a few moments free of the world.

The city awoke while he jogged in an untidy circle through familiar territory. Streetlights dimmed and faded. Cars slowly filled the streets. Pedestrians stumbled from their homes or cars to go about their daily tasks, leaving for work, transporting children to care facilities. But for a few minutes more, he was elsewhere, in the land of music and movement.

He followed the cool caress of morning with a hot, steaming shower. These moments, too, were precious. When he departed again, he needed to be alert, focused, ready to face the day’s challenges.

Domerin guessed the day was going to be particularly challenging when his phone rang before he even purchased his morning coffee. He tapped the panel on the dash of his motorcycle that muted the music in his helmet and allowed him to answer the call.

“Commander Lorcasf?” spoke the familiar voice of the office dispatch, cool and steady. “Sorry to bother you so early, but we need your services as soon as possible.”

“I’m already halfway to the office, Ivona.”

“In that case, we need you to divert.”

Domerin cursed silently. Seven in the morning and the day had already gone to hell? Ivona was only midway through the address when he turned, orienting himself toward the proper street. They wanted him on the outskirts of the city. He increased his speed. “I’m en route. Care to tell me what we’re dealing with?”

“Unfortunately, Commander, all the reports I have are unconfirmed. It’s not an elemental, we can be thankful for that.”

“Indeed.”

“But based on the preliminary damage reports, it’s not small. We’ve got people on sight for evacuation, but we need to stop the creature before it enters the city. Three other members of the division are on their way to assist.”

He wasn’t overly fond of his office anyway. Not that he wanted dangerous magical creatures loose in the city.

He was lucky it was still early. The streets weren’t crowded and most cars were moving in the opposite direction. It saved him weaving through traffic to make good time. He could see the hostile creature long before he reached it; it was the size of a small skyscraper. It looked like an imp, but he had never seen one that large. Its wing beats bent the necks of nearby trees.

He parked in a hurry, rushing to meet his companions, who had arrived at roughly the same time, all of them equally bewildered by the creature’s appearance.

“So far we’re just trying to distract it,” the on sight lead announced with obvious relief when he saw them. “Keep it more interested in us than the surrounding houses.”

“What the hell is it?” a division mage named Valia demanded, shaking her head. “Imps don’t get that big.”

The on sight lead shrugged helplessly. “It’s certainly as stupid as an imp.”

“Let’s hope it’s power isn’t proportional to its size,” Domerin muttered. “All right, Valia, you’re on shield duty, just in case that thing does try to zap us. Rilan, you and I will try a pincer movement, trap it between the two of us and bring it down. A direct hit to the Achilles tendon ought to do it.”

“Why is it always the huge things that aren’t susceptible to bullets?” Rilan grumbled, but he nodded and fell in line.

The three of them worked together often; that gave them an edge. They didn’t need much verbal communication to keep up with each other, each adjusting easily to the acts of the others. The mage already distracting the imp used a flashing mage light to acknowledge their approach and kept the imp turning in circles. It caught sight of Rilan’s first attempt to strike, but Valia blocked its retaliating mage blast with a shield. Domerin seized the opportunity to strike. He’d pay for it with a solid bruise come afternoon, but his sword bit deep into the imp’s blue flesh. Unfortunately, the wound was only bad enough to slow it down.

It took two hours of chasing the mad creature through fields before they managed to subdue it. Domerin didn’t want to know the damage calculations, but he imagined they would have been much worse had it headed toward the city.

Valia and the other mage were deep in discussion about whether or not they should save the dull-witted creature, or if it would have to be put down, when the on sight lead came skittering across the field, nearly tripping over himself to get their attention.

“We’ve got a call from HQ,” he said between pants when he skidded to a halt. “They need you over in Haland. There are reports of a chimera.”

Domerin exchanged glances with his companion. Rilan pressed his lips into a thin line but said nothing.

“A chimera?” Domerin repeated, not bothering to hide his surprise. “It isn’t the size of a house, is it?”

“No, but you’re the closest team with the expertise to handle it.”

“We’re at least an hour away!” Rilan exclaimed. “They’ve got to have someone who isn’t already assigned-“

“Look, I’m just passing the message. From what I understand, everyone with the proper expertise is already deployed, dealing with other crises.”

Again, the two men exchanged a glance. “Has the world gone mad today?” Domerin muttered, waving to indicate he would take care of the situation. “Valia! We’re on the move. Chimera in Haland and they’re waiting on us.”

“Shit, it hasn’t bitten anyone, has it?” the woman asked breathlessly as she joined them in their jog back across the field.

“Let’s hope not, if we’re the closest help on hand.”

Chimeras weren’t much more intelligent than imps, but they were a lot more dangerous, even if it was normal sized. They always possessed some form of wild magic. You never knew if it was going to be venomous, turn you to stone with its gaze, or unleash a mage storm. Domerin wondered, briefly, what could possibly occupy the entire division to the point where they would let a chimera loose for an hour without containment, but it wasn’t his job to worry about the decision. His job was to make sure no one got hurt.

It was three harried hours before he had a chance to call headquarters. Their efforts to contain the chimera had gone awry from the start. Its wild magic allowed it to pass through mage barriers, and its massive strength crumpled physical barriers quickly. Luckily, it hadn’t proved venomous, though they ultimately had to gamble on a fair outcome to slay the creature. Domerin had a deep gash in his right arm but, according to the paramedic stitching it closed, he wasn’t in danger of dropping dead from poison.

“I’m really sorry, Commander,” Ivona sounded as though she hadn’t slept in three days, “but I’m going to need your team to converge with Gramus and-“

“I’ve got at least five minutes before this paramedic is going to let me rush off to another of these little parties, so at least give me some idea what’s going on. Three dangerous creatures on the same day and no one else in the division is available to assist?”

“Er… Well, they’re dealing with the other dangerous creatures, Commander.”

“Did they all break out of some zoo I’m not aware of?”

“That might not be too far from the mark,” there was a hint of weary humor in Ivona’s voice. “Seems one of our teams busted a rogue mage early this morning. Turns out he had a veritable menagerie of illegal creatures he’d been experimenting on and-“

“Let me guess, somehow they all broke loose. How many are we talking about?”

“The report I have says there were at least thirty-“

“Thirty?”

“At least.”

“Son of a bitch.”

* * *

The sun had long since set. Domerin had seen neither his office nor a cup of coffee all day. At the moment, he wanted little more than his bed. He leaned against the side of a police car. He know where his bike was parked. He was going to have to pay a faerie to activate the retrieval program. He did not have the energy to retrace his steps to discern at which crisis point he had abandoned it.

“Word from division HQ is that was the last of them,” Rilan announced as he crossed the parking lot to join Domerin beside the car. Blue and red lights flashed behind them. “I’m glad I’m not the guy who has to tell the queen how much damage those things caused today.”

“I just want to know how the hell someone purchased all these things on the black market and kept them right under our noses without our noticing.”

“Or why the team on duty didn’t set containment before the bust,” Valia added, flopping down on the pavement at their feet. “I’m already having nightmares about the paperwork for today and I haven’t had a chance to sleep yet.”

“We should go down to Lizzie’s,” Rilan mused, his head tilted thoughtfully.

“Lizzie’s?” Domerin snorted. “How the hell can you think about drinking at a time like this?”

“Because HQ also said we got through the entire day without losing anyone from the division,” Rilan replied, holding up one hand as if he were stating obvious facts. “And because I haven’t eaten all day and I’m starving!”

“Now that you mention it…” Valia said, “I’m hungry too.”

The growling of Domerin’s stomach answered for him. With a sigh, he pushed away from the car. “We’d better help mop up, or it’ll be midnight before we get there.”

Fatigue weighed his shoulders while he assisted in the heavy drudgery of clean-up duty, but it fell away the moment he stepped through the familiar tavern doorway. The faerie had already retrieved his bike, which would make the trip home quick and easy. The savory smells drifting from the kitchen revived him as Rilan led the way to their favorite table.

“First round is on me,” Lizzie, the tavern owner, announced as she set three mugs on the table. “No arguments,” she added, raising a finger when Domerin opened his mouth to protest.

“I can’t imagine how you make a profit with the amount of free booze you set in front of us,” he retorted, only half in jest. “What’d I ever do to deserve such treatment?”

“Today?” Lizzie flashed him a lopsided grin. “Based on the news reports, keeping my business from being trampled, for a start. Do I really have to remind you of the rest?”

“You could at least let me pay for my dinner every now and then,” he insisted.

“We’ll see.” The tavern owner laughed. “In the meantime, why don’t I bring you three house specials? You all look like you need them.”

It turned out to be well past midnight before Domerin fell into bed, a dinner, several drinks and a shower later. But he was certain he would be up before his alarm, refreshed and ready for another day on duty. He might even manage to make it to the office this time.

***
You can read more about Domerin here.

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