The Arcanomen

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Digital drawing. A machine. Large central disc at center resembling an astrolabe, but without any markings around the rim, and only one pointer. The disc is supported by one small leg at left of viewer and a larger apparatus at right with a large hand crack attached and a small spinning lever below the crank. All other parts are behind the central disc. At left are arrayed three smaller discs with hands of various shapes and lengths. Left top, a polyhedron with knobs and circular openings. Above center, three pointers. Right top, a ring facing forward orbited by three rings at vertical and symmetrical angles.

Who built it, none can now say.  The ancestors of our ancestor’s ancestors might have known.  But that knowledge—that name—was lost.  It faded from memory.  It even faded from myth.  How it was built, none can now say.  When and where it was built, none can now say. 

But what the machine was and why it was is a story that still remains in the collective memory of the people who are descended from those who lived in the Age of the Arcanomen.

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The Misfortune of Repetition

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Digital drawing. At center, two little girls. The girl at left stands a head taller, with her right hand on her hip and her left arm around the other girl’s shoulder. She wears a skirt, a quarter-sleeve pullover, a band around her left wrist, and a barrette in her hair. The girl at right holds a book open in her right hand, and touches a page with her left. Sparkles surround the book. She wears a dress with a pleated skirt. The girls smile and gaze at each other. Behind them are lines of script with random letters bordered by a lightning pattern.

It was the turning into her fifth year, when Anushka would enter the next epoch of her childhood, the first learning years.  Being a child whose family was of modest wealth, there were a few minor enchantments that were gifted to her.  One was a book that could summon any one of a hundred different fairy tales within its pages with a simple chant.  Another was a pair of boots that could lace themselves.  And still another was a mysterious card placed within a vivid green envelope embossed with the golden letters of the giver’s initials.

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The Hollow Temple

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When the young woman appeared, garbed in robes of green and a wide belt of scarlet, the two treasure-seekers understood at once that she was the temple guardian.  And they did not hesitate to approach her.

“Greetings, travelers,” the temple guardian said.  “Give me your names.”

The two treasure-seekers gave her their names freely.

She did not return their offer of names, nor did she return their smiles.

“Turn back, travelers,” the temple guardian said, her voice calm and measured.  “Go no further than the spot where I now stand.” Continue reading