Friday, 22 August 2014

Metal and Light

White - Lore of Light
The machine took up fully four fifths of the warehouse, filling the creaky wooden structure with gleaming pipework, glinting angular crystals on revolving mounts, vents that snorted occasional gouts of icy vapour and a twitching array of needled dials.

"Ready?" asked Schaeffer, his oil-spattered yellow overalls buckled tightly to his lean form.

"Ready," confirmed the wizard known only as The Pharoah. In his full ceremonial splendour, backed by a quintet of acolytes, he certainly had the stage presence of some ancient Arabyan lord. The difficult-to-master powers of Hysh, the Light Wind, were his to command.

Standing below the command deck and looking up at his regal companion, Schaeffer felt more like a mechanic than a wizard. It didn't help that he was knee-deep in thaumachanical valve tubing and holding a colossal wrench-stave. Still, he'd spent years first becoming one of Nuln's foremost Golden Wizards. And years more working on the Deliverance Engine. Years again convincing the Light College to work with him. Today, it would all pay off.

Today, they would close the Chaos Gates at the poles of the world forever.

He pulled his agate goggles down over his eyes and started shouting commands.

"Danner! Kleg! Throw the incipitance membrane into reciprocity! Invert the bulbarity of the Ioun fuller! Pessic - fire the spectral resonophone!"

Deep thrumming filled the warehouse, punctuated by ozonic crackles. Flickering golden light strobed with pure white pulses, timed with clanking from the Gate Levers.


The Pharoah's piercing eyes flashed down to the mighty (if unimpressively named) activation device, and his pearl-encrusted hands closed round the switch. He threw it with a single shrug of his surprisingly broad shoulders.

The warehouse vanished, replaced in a heartbeat with a roaring cataract of energy.

The two wizards braced against the howling tide, a foaming flood of Light and Gold arcane power. Far more than they could command alone. Squinting even through his protective eyepieces, Schaeffer saw the five acolytes blow away like powder in a gale, consumed in seconds.


Gold - Lore of Metals
There were shapes emerging from the tide, humanoid shapes. They moved like automatons, clad in heavy blocks of armour. Some were white as ice, some reflective gold.

The Pharoah heard him, Schaeffer knew. The Priest-Wizard had looked round when he shouted. But he made no move to release the lever. His eyes were shining with pure light, hard to look at.

Schaeffer raised his hands with difficulty. Flecks of metal were starting to form on his arms, a shroud of gold weaving itself from pure magical energy. And suddenly he realised - it would obey him if he wanted. The tide - they were surfing on it as it poured into the world.

Into Nuln.

"WE HAVE TO TURN IT OFF," he boomed, his voice tolling like a mighty bell.

"NO," The Pharoah replied. "NOT YET."

A vast sun of white light was rising behind him, shining through him somehow. Schaeffer could barely see him anymore. Regiments of the armoured warriors were forming around each of them, military columns that faced each other menacingly.

One of them would be destroyed, Schaeffer knew. If it was going to be him, he prayed he could just save the world first.

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