Posts Tagged Mori

[partim] Mori.

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The true panacea.

After finding I could walk again easily, I committed that page of the book to memory.  If the unknown alchemist had made any other impossible discoveries, we could figure them out later, when I had translator access—for now, the allcure would be enough.

“I suppose there’s an easy way out from here?” I asked Munk. “Possibly some kind of giant-sized exit?”

Munk started walking along the shelf.  I followed.

By one wall there was, in fact, a spiral staircase leading down—had the giant had normal-sized assistants?—leading down to another door like the one I’d come through, and then the golem was leading me through those infernal endless passages again.

This time, of course, there was no pain and no fatigue; I felt I could walk a good long time.  So it probably seemed a good deal less time than it should have before Munk led me out of the halls of illuminated stone and into a dark room in what turned out to be a basement of the university library.

And then there was Internet.

I forwarded the formula to the professor first, of course.

And then I posted it on the alchemy metanetwork.  I didn’t bother explaining—not yet—I needed to get this out as fast as possible.

People were dying, after all, and they didn’t have to be.

There were already confirmations being posted before I left the library.

“I think it’s gonna be a good day, Munk,” I said.

The triage started almost immediately—as fast as the doctors could be convinced. The alchemical principles, of course, were rock-solid, but without an understanding of them the panacea might as well be snake oil to them at best, or possibly harmful or fatal at worst.

But it happened, and we changed the world.

All worlds.

Since that day, though, I never saw another kelvin, not even in those undertunnels when we went back for the rest of the giant alchemist’s discoveries.

[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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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.

First day on the moon.

More ancient scraps. Most of the notebook I’ve been copying stuff out of is undated, but a poem on the ending page of this that I posted to LiveJournal around the time I wrote it gives this a terminus ante quem of September 29, 2005.

1 Aug
The trip to the moon was short and uneventful. I knew it would be—it’s just a routine shuttle, after all. Still, I was hoping for something special for my first time off the planet.

A circle of lunar humans off the ’port staff waited to greet us as we came out the gate. Most of them wielded video recorders in case any of the terrestrials wanted to say anything stupid. Souvenir discs of My First Words on the Moon go for €10.50. Nobody wanted to announce any giant leaps for Podunk today—all the other passengers were either lunars coming home or tired businessmen who’ve probably done the trip a thousand times. Me, of course, you’d never find doing anything so touristy.

The welcome committee soon dispersed after seeing no one really cared about being welcomed. I passed through the crowds and bound up the stairs to baggage claim. My muscles were used to hefting around a body six times heavier than I now weighed. I figured I’d better enjoy it while I could—I knew I’d be paying for it trying to lug around my pudge when I went home for the summer.

I got my bags and found my way outside. The dome above was darkened, indicating the fiction that was the lunar city’s night.

Right. I pulled my computer out of my pocket, uncrumpled it, and called up local time. Quarter to ten… fifteen minutes until there wouldn’t be anybody at the college to let me in. I pulled up gmaps and a compass and got directed to a bus line that went straight there.

The bus was empty. I stood and watched the city go by. Unlike the inside of the bus,… the city for the most part seemed clean and new.

I reached the university gates just a few minutes before closing. The gate guard pointed me to the dormitory, and I rushed to get in just before the doors locked.

Scrap – Mori

This is from an old notebook I’m in the middle of transcribing. In Nother, an astrode is a device similar to an orrery which allows for teleportation based on astrological principles.

Moriarty ascended the stairs of the ruined apartment. The thick air did nothing to obscure the golden light blazing from the attic room. He shaded his eyes as the room entered his view, and there as he had dreaded, stood the broken astrode.

—”How’m I sposta fix this?”

That doesn’t work.

I could barely see for the brightness, and my footpaws were damp and sticky from the pool of sunshine I was standing in.

How ’bout I start with this—

I ran back downstairs to find a pitcher. My footprints glowed in the dust. “Frotz,” I said.

I came back up and scooped up the most part of the sunshine. It was sticky and puddled together on its own, like mercury. The pitcher was about half-full when I was done.

I set it on the stand at the angle left by the tracks in the floor.

The band of planetary signs along the wall lit up.

“Oh crap,” I said.

I didn’t recognize any of the signs.

There were only five, laid out thus:

I set up the stand with the moon that had fallen over, and crossed my fingers. Only one way out, and that by trying… I pulled the dusty globe and it began to reflect the beam directed from the pitcher of sunshine. The other moon had quite shattered, and I was thus left with three choices. , I thought, bad sign. The was too complex to— could be a distorted Mars…