There’s Always More Problems To Fix
March 21, 2012
So today is a bit of a fantasy piece, technically, in my fantasy setting Royan. I’m not sure how I feel about it right now but, y’know, what the hell! Let’s put it up here. I wrote it yesterday and I’m pretty happy with it right now. Can’t ever tell what the crowd’s gonna think.
My readership may or may not be falling lately, though. I need your help, my reader’s help, getting the word out if you can. Please share the blog with someone today? In fact, if you ask me nicely I’ll write a short story just for you if you’ll share it with your social circles. ‘Cause amplification is the name of the game; if I’m going to start supporting myself on my swan’s song, it’s going to take a lot of people paying attention to me. With enough people paying attention, if I start getting donations, I may be able to move this to its own server, start hosting ads, and start trying to be a real self-supported writer. Commission covers, browbeat editors, y’know. Pretend I’m an author on the big stage.
In the mean time, though, I hope you enjoy our own version of community theater that we’ve got going on here.
“It is an ancient wrong, lad. Now, do not ask me of it again. I shall not explain myself, at least not yet.” Master Abbatrax moved across the room, his heavy robe dragging across the stone floor with a soft whisper and his hands working with some arcane device of wood and leather. Norvis, his apprentice, sat at the small desk Abbatrax had set up for him and bent back to his letters. Slowly he copied the texts infront of him, memorizing each word carefully and learning the proper ways to weave the ancient magics that Abbatrax had agreed to teach him.
The master continued to work on his machine. It was thousands of yards of scrolls now, wrapped around wooden posts and threaded through mystic pulleys and presses and between each taut sheaf was devices that represented the stars, the people of the world, ancient and mystical lines of energy that threaded through them all, and the everlasting passage of time. It was his great work, and the machine had grown as Norvis had grown.
When he was but a boy and his mother apprenticed him to the ancient mage, Norvis had helped thread those scrolls into the machine. His nimble fingers had done what Abbatrax could not. Without tearing or stretching he learned the importance of Balance and the importance of Equitability while memorizing the interactions of the elements and the first childlike bursts of magic. Abbatrax had been like a grand uncle then, happy and caring. Loving, even. He taught the boy how to chase and hold fire, how to call down a sparrow or a hawk, how to fashion the winter’s first snow, how to ask the trees for a fine sled, and how to make water taste as sweet as grape juice.
When the boy grew into his changing time, he had helped build the many arcane machines that were within the great work. The wizard explained the function and changes of the planets while they built them together. He memorized the names of each of the thirteen planets, including their own Royan, as he carved them. Abbatrax showed him the importance of the lines of force that wrap and spread through each world as the boy learned to craft metal with his mind, heating and spreading it with his willpower alone. To hang them in the machine took great enchantments which had to be laid permanently, and to do this the ancient master bent his apprentice to the task. Power was wrapped into each thread of the machine to hold up the planets, the lines of force, the stars, and the ladder of time. Now the glittering balls and strings of gold and silver sat unmoving in the air in defiance of gravity thanks to the skill of young Norvis.
Now in his adolescence he had begun to wheedle the old wizard about what the machine was for. It took three years of pestering and nagging while learning the ways of writing the ancient languages and learning the finer aspects of the grammar of magic until the wizard opened up at all, telling his apprentice that the machine was to fix a problem. With a promise made, the apprentice kept his end when he found out this information and memorized the great language of the ancients. He learned the sciences of magic so well that Abbatrax, being impressed, bent his apprentice to the arduous task of recording the great spell upon the machine letter by letter. Once again the boy had taken up the questions, though, determined to discover the issue which required such a great and ominous machine. A machine that would turn back time and preserve the equilibrium of the world. That would recreate a whole life from some moment in the distant past. A spell that was woven out of the old mage’s already impressive crowning achievement; his own immortality.
It took six years of work every single day for Norvis to translate the entire spell. It took up one thousand volumes of leatherbound vellum and sat on a shelf that ringed the great room of stone the machine was in. The stone room was the great mage’s experimentation chamber, high in the sky where it is safe from the volatile energies of the earth and suspended by a thread that hung on the web of energy from the stars. This room, which Norvis had found every part of in his twelve years of service to the mage, would soon belong to the Apprentice.
Halfway through translating the spell, he had stopped asking the mage what was to be fixed. He still did not know the crime but he knew what Abbatrax planned to do. The tendrils of the spell would seak out a place in history, an ancient history from before the death of the gods, and remake part of the world. Part of the truth of history. It sought to fix some incalculable wrong with the nature of the world’s changes and flows. The spell was so long due to the fact that it would have to execute continuously until the appropriate balance was achieved, each section speaking to a different part of the Grand Machine of Creation. “Every machine has rules,” the mage explained once, “and those rules must be followed. The universe itself is the largest and most complex machine humankind, any of the races of Royan, have ever interacted with.” There are so many rules to the machine that not everything could be thought of. The magic then would continue to fix the small tears from its own execution for generations upon generations. During which Norvis would watch, would preside over, as the new immortal mage.
The price of this spell, in order for it to work, was Abbatrax’s life.
For two more years the apprentice learned from the wizard. He learned the intricate mudras, or hand patterns, for weaving the great magics. He learned the words for the most powerful parts of creation; the small things that once gone will never return. He learned the words for life, love, happiness, despair, melancholy, and fear. He learned how to whisper something into being and how to steal its life away. He learned how to knit skin and how to mend hearts. Finally, he learned how to speak his name into everlasting life.
On the day of his twentieth birthday, the mage Arnorvix watched as his friend and brother Batra started the Great Machine and was lost to the cosmic uncertainty of the Great Work. Some time, long in the past, a young man looked at a young woman and instead of cursing her with stone for not knowing that he had been hurt, he instead cried and told her that he loved her. Somewhere far in the future, an old and ancient mage turns an old machine on after she has adjusted it so that she may fix a great problem from the machine’s first instruction. There, in the lab, Arnorvix became the Wizard of the Ashen Plain and watched as his master, and friend, wed the woman he had loved for countless eons.
To this day the lovers whisper to each other through the ashen plain. If they like you they may whisper their love to you, as well.