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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Time Spiral - Chapter 15

It's time to get to know our new friend Venser.

Time Spiral - Chapter 15

Jhoira waits bedside within the tent they set up for Venser to comfortably regain consciousness while the rest wait outside. As he wakes, she notices the first thing he does even before opening his eyes is reach for the pouches attached to his belt. After he confirms whatever it is that he's checking for is still there he opens his eyes and Jhoira introduces herself.

Venser explains that those things that attacked him were Lord Windgrace's gladehunters, a term given to any human or creature smart enough to follow simple commands, the most important of which is to destroy machinery. She tells him that those specific gladehunters are known as slivers, and that he should ignore what Teferi said about their being in Urborg to find him. He just likes to keep people off balance, what they're really here for it to study the Stronghold.

(Nice save. Let's not freak out one of the keys to saving the multiverse.)

When he reveals that he's an artificer, the conversation quickly moves to joy that Venser's found common ground with this stranger, to fear that she wants to take his power stone, and then to discussing why clockwork designs may or may not be better than using those same powerstones. She tells him that all they're really after is a look in at the castle, a quick and harmless look at him, and then they'll even drop him off where ever he wants go when they're through with this whole place.

It sounds good to him.

It is time to meet the group, and she assures the shy artificer that it'll be okay. They're not threat, even the crazy elf. But first, Teferi takes her away for a moment. He tells her that Venser isn't the one... but his opinion is quickly revised when she tells him about his artifice work. Working with machines doesn't require mana in the way that Radha draws mana, so perhaps he is the one and he just hasn't shown clear signs yet. As for the giant slivers, Teferi wonders if the slivers are everywhere, or if they just happen to be everywhere they go. It's just one more item to add to the list of problems to solve.

Venser interrupts their conversation and asks if they can take him back to where they rescued him from so he can see if he can salvage as much as he can of his ambulator. Teferi and Jhoira exchange a look, and ask him what this ambulator does. He tells them it teleports. It's worked once already but he's still trying to perfect it.

Teferi could hardly contain his interest. "And you've been testing this device near here? This close to the Stronghold?"

"Yes. Well, I had to. I set up my workshop here because it's close to where the parts are."

"Jhoira," Teferi called breezily. "Venser is working on a teleportation machine. Isn't that fascinating?"

"It is."

"And it's not working properly."

"What a shame."

Venser is quite confused.

(Probably as confused as I feel. I'm guessing something similar has been used in the Invasion. Something familiar to the both to them.)

...At the ambulator...

Teleportation spells are exacting spells, and just a small mistake can end in devastation, and yet Venser claims to know about thirty. Teferi's exclamations of excitement transition from being over-the-top patronizing comments to genuine expressions of excitement as they take a closer look at his machine. He's come so far in so little time with such poor resources at hand. Completing a project like this would certainly qualify him as a master artificer, no question.

Teferi can't help himself, and just about tells him exactly everything he's doing wrong, but Jhoira buts in. He can't see why helping him out is a bad thing. It will save him decades of time.

I don't think he's building it to use it. I think he's building it to prove he can.

Well. Fine then. He'll just continue to take a look and keep his thoughts to himself. Teferi suspects the ambulator or the powerstones are what is interacting with the rift. He asks Venser if they can see it in action, and Venser is more than happy to show them... but some of the structural damage needs to be fixed first. Oh wait. No need. Teferi taps his staff on the ambulator and tells him everything's been fixed. It's all still exactly the same, but the broken pieces are now good as new.

Jhoira insists that if they're going to do this, they better have their people nearby. The rift may act up again, and something other than Gathans might come out.

...A few minutes later...

"We're ready," Venser said. He called out to Teferi and the others, "Anyone else wnat to come along?"

The Shivans only stared. Radha rolled her eyes during the silence and said, "Just get in and flip the switch, pasty. It stinks out here. I hate your whole country."

(I love that line. I literally laughed out loud. Radha is just so miserable here away from both Keld and Skyshroud.)

Teferi enables the group to see the rift and Venser flips his switches. The rift instantly reacts. As the machine powers up the rift grow wilder by the second. Teferi yells at him to turn it off and Venser yells back that it won't respond.

Lighting and thunder burst from the rift, and slowly but surely a dragon of shadow appears.

"Oh, yes," Radha shouted, her voice rising. She turned to the Shivans and said, "Let's kill that."

Jhoira wonders why Teferi hasn't saved Venser yet, and turns to find him hypnotized or incapacitated by the rift, so she sprints for the ambulator to save him herself.

* * *

Here's the Good Stuff

Fantastic chapter. Venser and Jhoira, Jhoira talking to Teferi about Venser, all three of them talking about the ambulator, and even the small bits with Radha. It all works. While I've enjoyed the journey Radha's gone through, throwing Venser in the mix has really bought a new life to the story. He's pretty much her polar opposite. It doesn't hurt that I identify strongly as a Blue mage and have always loved artificers ever since the beginning with Urza. McGough was even spot on with the humor in this chapter. Radha's reactions felt true to her character and the situation and it works wonderfuly. Best chapter so far.

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