Monday, November 10, 2014

Story Seed - Obsession

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"Like nested bowls on some abandoned shelf the structure sat.  A forgotten relic of some prior age it showed no respect for time or weather. It proved its creator's master over even the fundamental forces of destruction and creation of the Iron Wind.

"In remote desert dunes it stood making my study of it a chore, a task of true dedication.  There was little water to be found nearby, no sources of food, no settlements for days in any direction.  My studies were conducted piecemeal, days taken out of each year.  Prepared for by gathering both supplies and new knowledge, numeneric cyphers and books of the prior worlds.  I can hardly remember when I found the object.  I know not if it even has function, only that it stands proof against all that oppose it, myself included.

"I was once young, and full of optimism that I would decipher its secrets and prove myself the greatest of the students of the numenera.  Years have worn that enthusiasm away and honed it into the sharp cutting edge of obsession.  I know this, but I refuse to abandon my quest. At times I have taken on apprentices, but my dedication has proven greater than my ability as a master, and greater than the dedication of my would be pupils.

"Seventy years of pilgrimages, of study, of research, and of sacrifices.  No other loves have survived this obsession.  No other subject has proven itself greater than my mind and my will to decipher it.  I am old now, and my life is soon to end. I have failed.

"I can only hope that someday somebody will find these notes and succeed where I have failed."

Jarro sighed, and put his stylus down.  The journal, a hefty book near the end of its allotment of pages, he closed and placed into the chest with an unsteady hand.  He closed the lid and performed the ritual to seal it against the elements. Sighing he then made an effort to climb to his feet on his own.  It came as no surprise to him that he lacked the strength, and even the pain that gripped his chest was no shock to him, though its intensity confirmed that he was not long from the end of his life.

Resigned he activated the harness he wore. A dim red glow behind him accompanied the sense of weight lifting from his shoulders. Still with great effort, and great pain, he rose to his feet, aided by the numenera he wore. He blew out the lamp and extinguished the glow globe, and finally pushed his way through the heavy canvas of his tent into the darkness of night.

Overhead the stars shone and a thin sliver of the moon, only barely perceptible, added a weak wash of light to the land. Even had he been unable to see it he could have walked to it and touched it. The relic. Those ancient bowls of unknown intent. He crossed the hundred feet to stand before his obsession. His nemesis.

He adjusted the numenera again, ensuring it would hold him upright even when his limbs failed and his life ebbed away finally.  He watched the relic with his dying eyes, his faltering heart, his fading life.  Dimness crept into his vision, blackening the edges and creeping ever toward the relic at the center of his vision.

The structure awoke, blue lines blazing to life, and a shimmering field of power rising from the center. The sight drew an uncontrolled surge of emotion and a commensurate physical response.

It could be said that Jarro died of joy.

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