Author Topic: The Chronicler of Things  (Read 602 times)

Marcus Weyland

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The Chronicler of Things
« on: January 28, 2019, 03:13:28 PM »
As the sound of Corporal Joachim von Schrotter’s boots vanished down the hallway, Marcus lay on the thin mat that was his bed. The manacles on his thin wrists weighed his hands down, and his unnaturally-old body had exhausted the last of its strength. The cold stone leached the warmth from his bones, yet he had no choice but to lie there in a heap, pinned beneath his own frailty.

From his horizontal position he looked down the length of the chains trailing from his wrists, at how they bolted to the floor in the center of the small cell. He examined the lock on the reinforced door, though his eyesight relayed only a steel-colored blur to him. Pointless to consider tampering with that—it was doubtless beyond his ability to pick even before he’d lost all semblance of his former deftness. He resigned himself, instead, to contemplating his position.

He imagined Joachim breaking the seal on the letter he’d confiscated. It was inevitable. Then what? What rights did an Outlander in Dementlieu have? What charges were even leveled? Surely the Corporal would explain it all, if asked. When would he return? Likely, he’d send for the Church, and that meant the Toret—or perhaps Warden Gauthier? If the latter, Marcus knew he would be leaving his fate to—

--a tremor ran through his very being, then. Spidery symbols crept into the focus of his mind’s eye, unbidden. He shoved the thoughts away, but found them unyielding, and only succeeded in pushing himself farther from his own head. The symbols danced and spread, a fractal sprawl of glyphs that stretched into eternity, and Marcus felt his prodigious intellect—that tool he’d honed over decades of scholarship—wrenched from him as all but the barest sliver of his being dedicated itself to untangling that great tapestry of whispering letters. Whatever remained of his will screamed against the indignity—the horror—of being robbed of his only solace, his only remaining hope to fix this. He tried in vain to assert control, until even that last lucid shred was consumed.


Marcus awoke later. He remembered little of the struggle that had claimed him. He could feel little through the icy chill in his bones save a distant, arthritic throbbing. He tried to sit up, but failed to more than lift his hooded head from the mat before a lance of agony struck him through his spine. Teeth chattering from the hideous soreness he’d awoken, he noted blearily the mess of arcane symbols scratched into the floor near his “bed,” and knew it was his own work. He must have spent hours working on it, in some awkward pose that he paid the price for, now.

He wondered how much of his precious time he had lost, because of that. He reeled, trying to understand his apparent madness. He wanted to scream from the frustration, the terrible uncertainty of it. He couldn’t coax his withered body to muster the effort, and so he allowed himself a minute of loathsome, senseless tears.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2019, 05:32:31 PM by Marcus Weyland »

Marcus Weyland

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Foreword and the Route Ritual
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2019, 02:57:32 PM »
[Within the pages of a journal, somewhere, an entry is written in practiced, if somewhat shaky hand:]

I begin this text out of a desire to constrain my wandering thoughts, and focus myself on the task at hand. I acknowledge, though, that my actions might some day be cited as precedent in the considerations of others. For that reason, I will make these entries as accessible as possible, as I am an academic if I am anything at all. Perhaps some day I will make them publicly available.

     I, Marcus Weyland, formerly a Chronicler of All Things of the Academy and Reliquary at Mos'Enin, presently member in good standing of the Society of the Erudite of Port-a-Lucine, Dementlieu, am cursed. This curse is multifaceted and its origin obscure, so I will endeavor to focus my attention on only the most relevant of symptoms, rather than on the larger context of my state.

My affliction has lain marks on my body, mind, and soul. I find each of these effects to be loathsome in their own right, yet the bodily effects are the most urgent, as I am in a wasting condition that leaves me not much time to effect a cure.

The mental symptom manifests periodically as distracting and unnerving thought patterns, which are staved off only by satiation. I enact these regular indulgences, at time of writing, under careful supervision at prescribed dates with trusted associates. That my sovereignty over my own thoughts is not absolute provokes an indignation I have not ever known before.

The spiritual symptoms are immaterial, unquantifiable, and largely unknown, but I am assured by others that my very soul is damaged, in some fashion, and must be mended.

     To the effect of removing this curse, I drafted and conducted an abjurative ritual. A magically-reactive ink was prepared and used to paint my skin with glyphs to constrain divine energies. A terminus on my palm served as the only exit for such energies, and would allow only the Negative to flow freely. Then, through investiture of the Positive, a kind of pressure was established within me, to act as motive force in expelling the curse into the grounding vessel I laid my palm against.

The ritual failed, but at the apex of the Positive pressure, I did perceive the barest hint of a restorative effect beginning to take hold. I tentatively conclude that Positive energy might well be capable of resolving my physical condition. I was unable, however, to enact such a resolution even with what must have been near the highest concentration of the Positive a mortal body can hold.

Understanding now that the Positive is a more-valid route of removal than I had previously believed, I am casting my attention far and wide in search of more potent sources and more efficacious modes of investiture.

To that effect, I consider the possibility of consulting a celestial--a so-called "angel".

Where one encounters such beings in a demiplane like this one (barring their abduction by arcanists or misguided priests, who perhaps do not comprehend what they are doing), I have no notion. I will make inquiries.

Marcus Weyland

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On foreign hills, in good company
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2019, 11:38:05 AM »
A masked old man toiled on a hilltop, the mists a threadbare blanket wrapped about the low knoll, thin enough in places to let in the moonlight, let in glimpses of stars through the ceaseless, swirling motion.

The girl's voice lilted up to him from the grass, "I still don't understand why."

The man finished a line before responding in a patient rasp; "Your misknowing is indicium, cognizance of discernment. The, mm, lacuna you apprehend is also my answer. Its existence."

He wrote another line across the canvas, her dead silence prompting clarification: "You feel there should be a higher meaning. That this substrate especially deserves justification," he coughed, pressing a withered hand to his chest as he wheezed, "but your very confusion on the matter only validates it. There is something in this that demands higher meaning. An essential symbology."

"But what does that mean? I still don't understand why."

"As I've explained. There is.." He struggled to find a word that the girl would understand, that could also convey all it needed to. He found no single word, "ontology.. perception.. awareness.. comprehension.. in all things. Perceiving these latent meanings is sufficient to effect change."

"The world is symbols," She quoted him, musing, "and you think reading them makes them change."

He scoffed. "No, reading them allows me to.. change.. the noumena they comprise and are comprised of."

"Is it symbols or is it "perception," or is it "noumena"? You've said the world is all of those, since you started talking."

"It is all of those things, simply not in that order."

"That doesn't tell me why, though."

He sighed, turning wholly from the taut canvas to look into her emerald eyes. She was lounging, supine, in the grass beside him, peering upside-down at the ancient wizard.

"The world is made of meaning. You expect a higher meaning from this substrate, and that is exactly why it is desirable. It is flush with import. Undeniably significant. The significance itself is but one reagent, yet it is.. significant, itself."

"But why mine?"

He plucked the skin from its wooden frame, working the hooks from its outer edge with difficulty. Pale and fair, the canvas was marked with thousands of spidery runes, whirling and interlocking in fractal patterns whose finest lines defied efforts to trace them with the naked eye. The man rolled the skin gory-side-down, sliding it into a carrying case.

Silent now was the flensed corpse of the young woman. Naked even of skin, she stared up at the writhing mists with lidless green eyes, her teeth displayed in a mirthless facsimile of a grin.

"Because you were finished with it, and I was not."

He hobbled toward the bags he'd left at the foot of the hill, stepping over the girl, the shattered glass from the orb he'd tried earlier, and also over the meager possessions she'd valued enough to take into the mists alone, yet which the wizard had no use for: a blunt shortsword, simple leathers, a pack of food and sheets for bedding.

With an incantation to strengthen himself, he took up his packs and wandered off toward the mist again, pausing at their edge to turn girl, frame, leathers, and hill to dust with a murmured word.

Marcus Weyland

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A conference, dream, or portent.
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2020, 03:51:16 AM »
Five men took their seats at a broad wooden table. The mood was cordial, but familiar, as the men had come to know one another quite well through these meetings. A sixth seat, smaller than the others and yet elevated a few inches higher, stood at one end of the table, empty. Opposite, from the largest occupied seat, Marcus began as the others settled in, his voice a muffled rasp:

"Now, I'm sure you all understand why we might keep this meeting brief," he adjusted his black-and-white mask, "though do let me know if any points should be given special attention."

The man to his right, Marcus, spoke up. He was an older gentleman, just into his sixties. He adjusted the spectacles on his nose, then his robes, as he spoke, "I, for one, would prefer we just disband this little consortium, and would like to propose a vote--"

"You've been overruled already," The young Marcus seated across the table who'd spoken up continued, "as you were last time, and the time before. You cannot vote to end all future voting, Weyland." He bore a predatory gleam in his eyes. His dark suit was sharp, as always, and the theatrical mask he used so often dangled from his hip. With his calm air of invincible pride, he tended to dominate these gatherings.

"I know I have been, and I will be again. I protest this entire arrangement, and have nothing to add to it." Marcus sat straight in his chair, defiant, as he pronounced his retort to the upstart youth.

Beside that youth was a near-identical fellow named Marcus, who differed in appearance only in his humbler clothing and that he was not nearly so sure of himself, and glanced about at the others incessantly, inscrutably, confused at all times. For once, he opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off instantaneously by his twin; "Hush, you're dead." And so he hushed.

The lead Marcus bristled. "That is conduct unbecoming, Marcus. Need I remind you that you, too, are dead? It does not matter, here." But the young and aggressive Marcus simply glared, hawklike, and steepled his fingers. This caused his hands to fall off, and they bounced off the edge of the table and onto the hard floor with a most embarrassing series of thuds.  Marcus pretended not to notice.

"I shall speak." the furthest Marcus intoned. He had not yet spoken, and was not expected to. His weathered black prison-robe and monochrome mask couldn't conceal his withered form, like some kind of wrinkled spider-creature pressed into a man's clothes. He busied himself with a small canvas, drawing incessantly.

The table went quiet as the many Marcuses waited for him to continue, but he didn't. He simply drew more lines into his canvas.

"...Ahm," the head Marcus began again, "I confess I cannot remember what we were talking about before the disruption."

"Liar," the second, stubborn Marcus accused, "you cannot forget. When did you begin to brook falsehoods?"

"It was not a-- now, you listen here!" Marcus growled, jabbing a finger at his accuser. But the motion made his hand fall off, and it bounced across the table. He stared at it, but couldn't quite bring himself to ask the fellow he'd been arguing with to pass it back to him.

The two young Marcuses exclaimed at the sight, one with a sardonic, "Damnation, I miss Rhea," the other with a hopeless, "Gods I miss Lira..."

"I am speaking." The eldest, deranged one piped up again. They all grudgingly heeded him. He turned his canvas to face them. It bore a fistful of viscera, smeared and ground against its surface. He pointed at it, "Our agenda."

The lead Marcus rubbed his temples and said, "We shall put it to a vote, then, if we must."

The ancient one shook its head, its spine grinding against itself audibly. "Apologies. Your votes matter not."