Sunday, October 4, 2020

GLoGtober #11: Space

       In accordance with the post-a-day challenge by SunderedWorldDM, whose dreams bore the Orbseeker and whose deeds send the world shuddering. 

From the Microclass Compendium:

"Falling Rock- start with a shmuck and a sense of impending doom
A: possess a random humanoid in the general area of where you are destined to land. They are instantly the most knowledgable person in the world with regards to engineering and physics.
B: Convert any magic item your rube possesses into an anti-gravity item of equivalent power. Shit, this is taking too long.
C: Convert any cleared dungeon into a spelljammer craft.
D: Rocks fall, everybody dies."

The Falling Rock

The rushing stillness of a falling dream swept over my surface. I ran through eons, contemplating my own being and watching distant stars march like starch-stained ants along the gloom. But after a time, a time wider than a human mind, my attention was drawn along my inevitable trajectory to the planet Earth. It was, in cosmic terms, as close to me as the hair of a brush must be to transfer paint onto canvas. It was as close as an egg to the ground in the instant before it cracks. It was as close as one atom serenading its neighbor.

For a moment my mind blanked, then I filled it with formidable insight. Imagination called up the condemned Earth, cradled in my mind. Universal benevolence fixed my purpose. Final, incontrovertible will send the mind ahead, to touch the smallest spark along the surface where I would soon land.

The spark, which called itself such things as “man,” as “slave,” as “Irararum,” ignited into a long coil of ego between my form and the planet. I opened his eyes and saw only in the narrowest bands of light. I listened and heard only the nearest sounds. I stood, his clumsy form put for the first time to adroit use. Another human beside him stirred as I placed him outside his dwelling to look around.

An expanse of mud and stone, arrayed in human attempt at geometry and human attempt at homes. Where brute mules slept and insects crept, where widows wept and saviors stepped, the perfect stars shone, examples for bright law and unflawed right. Clinging to the planet’s surface, these creatures loved starlight but fell far short, pitiful and wretched.

I realized I loved this place and especially its people, and resolved to protect them from my arrival. The human who had slept at Irararum’s side stood in the doorway of the dwelling, and spoke to me as though I were him. I spoke only knowledge and light. This disquieted her, and I lent a sliver of my true countenance to this borrowed form, and when next I spoke she felt the truth as I clipped between the twenty basic concepts of existence. It was slow work in this form, but I needed someone to hold the light of knowledge who understood Earthen people.

I spoke only beauty until she could process it, then asked her of this world. It surprised me that she knew of the great sea under the Earth, the cope of Heaven, and other features obscured by metaphor. It surprised me also that she knew nothing of the physical form of stars, or of the world’s surface beyond her horizon.

We interceded before a human chief, called king of all that he saw, and I demonstrated my knowledge, cloaked in metaphor and petals of power to soothe and awe. I showed how the tenth step from their stumbled mystical arts may repel falling bodies, and how their charted path of stars may predict where I would fall. The king watched me with eyes called wise, with tired face accustomed to lies, and cracked into desperation when the full scope of doom, and of my words’ truth, was realized.

That morning (so much time wasted waiting for waking), work was waged to upraise a mechanism to upraise my earthbound form. The earthen man I inhabited was offered offices and servants to command, and each I set to task. I was unaccustomed to so few or so physical hands, and despite her mortal capability the woman I first met proved at least my equal in transmuting slaves and stones into structures and sweat.

I called substances from the ground, a dull-sheened rainbow waking along their roads in brazen reds, gunmetal greys, and luminous shades. I worked their forges to such heat that iron could be battered into form, bone crushed into the making to strengthen the thing to steel. I learned the tongues of the kings who met in moot to avert the cataclysm of my coming, and of the workers they treated as currency, and taught each in turn the ways to speak of duty and right, and sing in unison the songs of work.

And with this they built a temple beyond all human ken. As my true form waned in the skies, as the graves of the overworked marked the perimeter of this great king’s city, as a coalition breaking the bounds of the age’s wildest paygrade swelled, I showed these earthen creatures how to make a stinking fuel of dead things and of those substances I had called up. 

Two plans were made. The first, to send the temple on to meet me as soon as possible. The second, to wait until the temple was fully outfitted. My chief engineer begged me to wait, and then to send others as my agents, to stay with her in this city of creatures. Instead, I offered her a final intimacy, to meet me as I was, not some mere earthen thing. There was bargaining, then sobbing acceptance.

The people sacrificed cattle, then the temple fell away from Earth. So many miracles they did not understand, for who would have guessed that they should have no breath in the void, or that they should be unbounded from the floor? I, my engineer, and some acolytes returned to my body, as the tether of flame that connected to the man I inhabited finally relaxed. As the temple settled upon me, they set to work constructing the shrines that would tilt my trajectory away from Earth and away from destruction.

We watched the Earth pass us by. It would be no great event for me, no poetic mood, but that the engineer and acolytes still stood above and beside me, and their small-minded wonder gave the void a veil of cold and the Earth a warm wind. In the days to follow, these forms would lose their sparks and become still, and with the last my attention would wind down from moments to ages, and all would return to contemplation, this latest crisis and its crisis-knitted folk as distant as their memory. 

But what contemplation there would be!

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