Monday, February 6, 2012

Gnosiomandus & The Gem of Muktra


Rain spattered the delicately sloping windows of the Panoptic-observatory dome, creating peculiar patterns in the accumulating black ash and dust that came with a coke-and-coal-driven society. Gnosiomandus relaxed into the heavy catoblepas leather recliner and sipped his jimbiri tea. It was good to take a break from things, if only for just a little bit. Things had become fairly hectic around the Mechispherium ever since that damnable simulacrum of the Corsican Emperor had taken the field only three months past. What was his name? Napolean. Yes; Napolean--one of the great emperors and generals from the history books. He'd massacred seven golem-legions in under seven days. It had come as a great shock to the High Council that their war wagons and armored treaders were far from invincible. No one had counted on their simulacrum of General Arnold being abducted in the middle of the night, right in the very heart of the capital city itself. It had been an audacious thing. Daring. Reckless. Brilliant. They were still looking for a replacement for the kidnapped simulacrum. He hoped that they'd get on with it and get someone suitable out into the thick of things before it was too late.

Too late.

For Gnosiomandus the whole affair was now some vague, peripheral reverie.

He had other things to focus his attentions on.

Like the Gem.

Green and smooth and cool; the Gem whispered to Gnosiomandus of strange, distant, terrible things.

He clutched the Gem tightly.

For the better part of a month he had slept only fitfully, restlessly, his dreams a constant torment of temptation and terror. He learned things in this feverish state of disquietude. Words slithered across his lips and leapt into a bizarre mist-like opacity that formed a sphere all around him. And everything grew quiet. Still. Not even his heartbeat could be heard.

The Gem told him that he would have use of this spell where he was going.

It taught him several more such spells. He learned how to defend his soul, protect his mind and barricade his dreams. Ectoplasm extruded and formed itself to his merest thought and gesture. Dreamstuff likewise responded to his will and his exertions, but it was difficult, demanding, not natural in this place and this time.

It would all work much easier in that other place.

That broken, dark and dangerous realm of which the Gem whispered endlessly.

The Gem had led him to discover the device. It was what the Gem termed a 'Transition Mechanism.'

The damned thing had tried to attack him. He had only just barely been able to enclose the infernal contraption behind a spherical shell of force and secure it atop one of the marble pedestals in the Panoptic observatory.

Gnosiomandus looked over at the niche on his left. The Transition Mechanism hung in the center of the force-shell like a leaf suspended in mid-fall.

His mind itched where the Mechanism tried to establish some sort of rapport.

The Gem instructed him in the use of the Mechanism. How to let it navigate the interstitial gaps in-between universes. How to let it take him to Zalchis. Possibly, just maybe, he might be able to re-direct the thing and go somewhere else, perhaps to Jalamere or some other Adjacent World, Parallel Realm or Anteplane. But such a thing would be difficult. Dangerous. It would cut into his studies and his routine. Certainly it would be romantic, but it would also prove expensive, and on his weak joke of a salary, such expeditions were highly impractical.

Tempting. Definitely tempting. But not the best use of his time nor his limited funds.

Still he dreamed of this broken universe where everything was collapsing down into the gargantuan singular aperture at the very center of a Great Ring surrounded by the cast-off bits and debris of millions of wrecked and ruined solar systems.

Zalchis.

Three weeks now he'd known that name as his intended destination and not one scrap or rumor could he dredge up from any of the libraries, archives or scholariums within the capital city.

Zalchis. It might as well be a made-up place, some phantasm of the nickle-dreadfuls or those horrible yellow-tinted pulp-paper magazines that were becoming more commonplace now that the wars in the colonies were finally over and done.

Then it dawned on him.

It was the opportunity of a lifetime.

Gnosiomandus laughed.

Yes.

He would use the Gem and that hungry Mechanism, but not in the manner that they presumed to be used.

He would let the Gem continue to whisper to him and give him weird dreams--that was exactly what he needed from it if he was going to make his newfound scheme work.

Gnosiomandus was going to write his own series of adventures for the nickle-dreadfuls or even one of those smelly pulp magazines. Whichever one would pay him the most...

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Gnosiomandus sometimes appears in Bujilli and is featured in an ongoing micro-serial at Burrst.

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