Friday, August 14, 2015

Story Seed - Outsider

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One last (?) post inspired by +Monte Cook Games current Kickstarter Into the Ninth World.  The third book in the line is going to be called (at least for now) Into the Outside, and will deal with other dimensions that the prior worlds connected to/created/invaded/etc. I'm probably most excited for Into the Night, but Into the Outside is easily 2nd on that list, as I think this book will have the most room for the folks at MCG to really go wild!  #NinthWorldKS


The chime jingled and I looked up from my ledger. The figure that entered my small shop was dressed in swaths of silk and brocade. Gloves pulled up to mid arm were snug on the figure's hands, and the loose and billowing legs and sleeves of their outfit were subtly quilted. A shapeless hat sat atop the figure's head which itself was further swaddled in a close fitting hood. Even the figure's face was covered, today by a mask of fine porcelain with features that were androgynous. Never once since meeting Veress had I seen even a hint of skin, hair, or other. Always when meeting with Veress the being - for I could not discern what species or sex Veress was a member of - was completely enrobed and covered.

"Veress!" I cried out excitedly. "How fares my favorite client this day?" I could not read Veress in any meaningful way, but I was truly excited because no other client seemed to be as bottomless a coin purse as Veress. I had long since ceased to feel any remorse for the exorbitant sums that I charged Veress; never once had this particular customer argued or haggled with me over price, and always I was paid as agreed.

"I am well Owan. Have you acquired the item I commissioned?" Veress' voice was disconcertingly flat and devoid of indicative pitch or timbre. I felt the flesh of my arms rise into barmskin as it always did; something about Veress' voice just didn't sit well with me.

"Indeed I do! Indeed I do!" I replied, happy both to be rid of the dangerous device and to recieve my considerable payment. "Allow me a moment and I shall return with it." I bowed toward the motionless and expressionless figure before moving into the back room of my shop. The object Veress wanted was a strange fusion of mechanics and biology; some kind of hybrid heart and power core. I had paid a group of hunters a hefty sum for the device, culled as it was from the chest of a callerail.

I came shuffling back into the shop proper and set the heavy device onto the counter. Veress leaned forward, bending at the waist, and inspected the device. "Cost a shiny shin to get one of these. Callerail are dangerous creatures, but my team managed to take one down without damaging this ... umm, whatever this is."

"It is a power regulating device," Veress said while straightening. "And it is as requested; your people did well."

I noted the odd way that Veress said "people," but I had other concerns to worry about. "What will you be needing next?" I asked, momentarily delaying the payment portion of the transaction in favor for setting up the next item to acquire for my strange client.

"I will require nothing more. This device will complete my work." Veress reached into the swadling robes and produced a small sack. The mysterious figure placed the payment onto my counter and indicated it, "Your payment as agreed." Veress began to pick up the regulator to leave.

So matter of fact; so dismissive, if not condescending. My curiosity suddenly seized the reins and got the better of me. "Wait. That's it? After six months of mysterious requests and strange hunts for exotic devices? Why have you been gathering all these things? Who are you? Why do you keep yourself so hidden?"

Veress paused, head tilting to the side slightly like a seskii. "You have never asked questions such as these before. I am surprised that do so now." The figure seemed to consider it for a moment while I struggled for a response. "Very well. The devices I have requested have been crucial components for an item of ..." Veress trailed off as though searching for a word, something else I had never seen. "A piece of the numenera, as your people call it, that will render a opening to my home so that I may return to my people."

Veress stepped forward and set the regulator down once more. "I am Veress of the urnirvoringend, and I keep myself concealed for your protection."

I blustered and finally found my words, "Please, if this is truly our last meeting let me see what you look like, I have never seen or heard of the urnivorgend."

"Urnirvoringend," the alien replied, correcting my mispronunciation. It paused again and then reached up to remove its mask. What I saw there was indescribable. Even now I cannot bring my mind to bear on the memory, only on the sensation of that memory. I know that what I looked upon was not of this world or any of those worlds that shone in the night sky. Veress was as alien to our reality as the numenera is advanced compared to a horse cart, or a simple oil lamp. More, its visage was ... unfathomable."


The old man fell silent. The aeon priest finished his notes and checked on the recording device. The quiet sound of charcoal on paper and the crackling of the fire were all the broke the silence. "And that was what caused-"

The old man nodded, "That sight blinded me, and that sight is why I have not slept soundly in forty years. It was no sight that any man should see."

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