Posts Tagged kelvins

[partim] Mori.

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I held on to the kelvin tightly, even though its heat burned my paw.  I had the allcure, after all, and the poor gryphon, now in tears, seemed to need help.

I wouldn’t let him go.  “Here,” I said, offering him the panacea with my free paw.  “You’ll be all right.”

The gryphon looked up at me, still lost, still miserable.  Of course.

“The translation doesn’t work down here, does it…? You don’t understand me at all.”

Kelvins didn’t talk, but surely they listened… what did they understand? “Weĉjo ijen?” No reaction. “Samskrtam?” No reaction.

My paw was surely blistering from the kelvin’s heat, but on the bright side it didn’t have much feeling left.

“Munk,” I said, addressing the golem, “Is there anything nearby I can use to communicate with him?”

Munk came near and put on big clay hand on my head and another on the kelvin’s.

And there was a thought in my head—it wasn’t spoken, just the memory of words I understood, though not in any language I knew: “He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

You’ve seen the city of jasper, I thought.

The kelvin did not appear to have heard the thought.

“But this was promised to us,” I said, and this time the kelvin noticed.  “Weren’t we told… ‘Never again will there be an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years—he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth—he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed?’”

It pays to keep a local copy of some things.

“It’s not the promise of the city, where there’ll be no death, but it is a promise that we can fight it a good long time, barring the sudden accident…”

I was rambling. I was fairly sure the kelvin’s heat was travelling up my arm; I was getting sweaty.

“Please, let me help you.” I offered the panacea again.

The kelvin disappeared.

All right.

I took the bowl—awkwardly, as my burned paw wouldn’t cooperate with holding it—and drank the liquid light till I felt the pain fully dissolve.

[partim] Mori.

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It didn’t even take me long to put the formula together—it would have been difficult or impossible for the ancient alchemists, but that was only because of collecting the ingredients; both lunar and terrestrial components were required.

The golem’s locating ability helped me find everything easily in the giant’s laboratory.  From what I could see, most of the supplies were quite stale; whoever had worked here had not been here in a very long time.  Fortunately nothing organic was needed.

The final product glowed with the pearlescence of mixed moonlight and earthlight—slowly growing brighter as the last reaction took place.

I noticed one of the kelvins had appeared and was watching me.  “Does this place belong to you all?” I said.  “I’m sorry I didn’t ask first—my foot got crushed and my golem brought me here to fix it.”

The kelvin’s initial look of sadness deepened to outright desperation.

“Do you need this too?” I said.  “There’s enough to share here…”

I went up to the kelvin, limping carefully, and moved to put my paw on his shoulder—and felt a powerful disinclination as I got closer.

“Let me touch you,” I said.  “I won’t hurt you.  C’mon…”

The kelvin didn’t respond.  I pushed through the resistance till finally my paw closed on his shoulder.  I tried to make it a reassuring touch, but the kelvin’s body was very hot—almost burning to the touch.

[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.

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.