Posts Tagged golems

[partim] Mori.

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I had Munk put me down, and I sat down, examining my foot, while the golem worked to open the book.

The first pages were crammed with text, in characters three inches high that nevertheless through their thickness of stroke appeared to be close and cramped.

Munk flipped past these.

There were astrological diagrams and charts of numbers, which the golem flipped past, drawings of what appeared to be some very unusual mushrooms, which the golem flipped past, something that looked like either a genealogical tree, or a large flowchart, which the golem flipped past—

And then he stopped at the page.  The page—if the golem hadn’t led me to it, I would have doubted, but inscribed at the top of the page, in the book’s plain black ink, was the alchemical symbol for the panacea.

[partim] Mori.

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The door had opened out onto a countertop that was several paces across.  There were rows and piles of books here, most books being taller than me, and even sitting on my golem I couldn’t see over many of them.

But there was no sign of a computer, and I couldn’t sense any connection to the network, either.  Who would do research without the Internet?

“So what did you bring me here for, Munk?”

The golem carried me to a book that lay by itself on the counter.  Unlike many of the other books, the title was in a script I recognized, even if it was Devanagari.

Now, while I did have to learn a bit of Sanskrit for alchemical studies, I was, in general, pretty hopeless at it.

The title, at least, was pretty straightforward; it was just चन्द्रिक, Moonlight.

[partim] Mori.

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The kelvin took one look at me—a wounded tiger being carried by a golem—and raised his spear as though to guard the door.  When he saw we were a wounded tiger being carried by a golem, though, he dropped his spear and vanished.

Munk carried me through the red door.

There was a big room on the other side.

All right, while it was a welcome change from the maze of twisty passages, all alike, that’s really no introduction to the place.

It was big.

I keep wanting to start there because bigness really was the defining characteristic of the room.

All right, it was obviously a laboratory.

A big one.

And I don’t just mean the size of a warehouse—though certainly it was—but everything in the lab was big.

This was a space for giants to do science.

Therefore, the room was big.

[partim] Mori.

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The golem carried me through the twisty sublunar passages for a good deal longer than I might have liked; pain coursed through my foot each time the golem took a step—and golems are usually pretty careful about the things they carry, so I knew at this point I was in pretty bad shape.

Munk carried me through enough rooms, intersections, halls, and tunnels, each one unnervingly like so many before it, that I began to doubt the golem’s sense of direction. Surely they weren’t absolutely unerring? I tried to think back and recall whether I’d heard any stories about golems getting lost—no. But surely it’d look just like this—the unthinking automaton trudging onward forever in circles, never hesitating at any fork, even when it should be obvious it was retreading its own steps….

I was scared, and I didn’t want to say anything to the golem for fear he might turn around and take off in another direction, spending still more hours in the unending labyrinth.

Golem, golem, turning right,
In the caverns of the night—
What eternal passageways
Could lead us from this fearful maze?

I probably would have been able to handle this better if the whole place wasn’t so empty.

Just about the time I was considering to tell Munk to put me down and do something productive, like start digging a tunnel to the surface with his bare hands—he turned a corner and stopped.

We faced a short hallway, at the end of which was a kelvin guarding a red door.

[partim] Mori.

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I sort of lay there a while, trying to get over the pain in my foot. Munk came over and stood over me.

“All right, I think I’m not going to be able to walk any further from here,” I said.

The golem picked me up and started walking towards the gate of the arena. I didn’t know where exactly he had in mind to take me, but golems don’t get lost, so I trusted and shut my eyes to think about the pain.

After about five seconds I realized this was not the best use of my time. “You wouldn’t have anything for a broken foot?”

Munk turned around.

[partim] Mori.

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Munk jumped aside, dodging the ram with a lot more agility than you’d expect from a creature made of stone.

The spear lay on the ground, still burning.

I remembered that the ram wasn’t interested in fighting the golem… it had to be me.

It always has to be me.

I jumped off Munk’s head and ran for the spear, lifting it up as the ram turned around.

“All right, buddy,” I said… “Μολὼν λαβέ… come and get it.”

1st draft [partim] – Mori


The kelvin handed me his candle and crossed his arms, still watching Munk waving his spear at the ram.

“Munk!” I said.

He came back to the edge of the arena where I was. The ram stayed put, watching.

The whole place was just too quiet. I jumped down on the golem’s head and took the spear.

The monster started charging again.

I took the candle and lit the spear on fire below the head. Whatever wood it was made of caught fire easily—thank heaven—and blazed.

I took aim at the oncoming beast.

“I hope this works,” I said.

1st draft [partim] – Mori

The previous part of this was posted last month.  I can definitely see a few things that’ll need fixing on the second draft.

I sat on the edge and watched the golem attempt to fight off the monster ram, waving the kelvin’s spear back and forth.

The ram, for its part, seemed to have calmed down, and was watching Munk with an expression that oscillated between indifference and confusion as the spear went back and forth.

“It only wanted me, didn’t it?” I said.

The kelvin I spoke to nodded, keeping his eyes fixed on the arena.

“I have to go back down there, don’t I?”

The kelvin nodded again.

“How’m I supposed to beat that thing?”

The kelvin didn’t answer.

I didn’t come prepared for this.  What’ve I got? My bare hands—but I’m a flabby alchemy geek, that won’t do me any good.

Clothes on my back; not likely to be helpful.

I have a golem, and my golem has a spear.  But my golem is inept at violence by design and the monster won’t fight it anyway.  No help there.  And flimsy alchemy geek arms wouldn’t handle a spear any better.

I have my environment.  An arena full of armed gryphons.

Right, and one unarmed gryphon.

With fire.

“May I borrow your candle?”

1st draft [partim] – Mori

Here’s another of those fragments I promised you’d see coming.  Mori’s story is one I still don’t have a title for or much detail in; though I have the broad outline for it, at the moment it’s mostly just something that gets put on paper as I go along.  For example, when I was working on this page it somehow became one of my goals to use the word ‘inhastate’.

Now, ordinarily a golem wouldn’t hurt a fly. They can’t really; it’s not just in their programming, it’s in principle—the magic that animates a golem just doesn’t work if you try to build hostility into it.

Seeing my golem wrestling with the gryphon-man for a weapon was, to put it mildly, more disturbing than the monster in the arena.

When it succeeded at winning the spear from the kelvin, I figured it might be a good time to bail out and jumped off its back. Munk leaped back into the arena, landing with a heavy thud, and started swinging the spear around wildly.

It didn’t look like it had any idea what it was doing.

I looked up at the now-inhastate kelvin, but he was just watching as if nothing had happened, holding its candle in front of it with both talons.