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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Test of Metal - Tezzeret: The Real Me

Tezzeret and the Crystal Labyrinth.

Tezzeret: The Real Me

Holding on to Silas Renn's unconscious and disembodied head, Tezzeret plays around with the clockworkers powers. Tezzeret had fashioned some of the etherium of his body into a halo that surrounded his head (after magically creating some not etherium clothes for himself), which was in turn encased in an etherium cage with built in carrying handles. It served as both a form of protection for the head as well as an energy source that could sustain him at least a century if not more.

In regards to Silas Renn's powers of perception, they are quite impressive. Besides the mundane five senses of taste, touch, sight, hearing, and smelling the world around him, Silas Renn could sense objects that were only potentially present as well as objects that were long gone. And of course the ability to see sideways in reality, the ability to see the probabilities of what was to come is quite a new experience for the mechanist.

After Baltrice finishes cleaning up the last of the zombies, she tells Tezzeret that she'll never forget the fact that he came back for her and him what's the next phase in the plan. Tezzeret gives her an etherium ring and tells her that her part is over. She has already gone above and beyond anything he could have hoped for, and she's earned what she was promised. The ring is a locator ring, and in the event of success or his death, her ring will lead her to the matching on that Tezzeret wears. When the two rings come in contact with each other, she will be told the secret to removing his device from Jace's brain.

And of course, while he hopes she can trust him that he will fulfill his end of the bargain, she also needs to know that his ring won't be programmed with the answer until he's well away from her. Tezzeret tells her that Jace is lucky to have someone as loyal as she is, and says that he's enjoyed working with her one more time.

And with that out of the way... he has two more gifts for her.

The first is a locket. Also a magical artifact that can locate things. This one in particular can locate any person she wants, as long as she puts in a small tissue sample like a drop of blood or piece of hair within it, and as long as the target isn't cloaked in all kinds of magical concealment so it's best if the target has no idea they're being tracked.

The second gift is a transit gate to a particular transit gate in Bant. The residence of a particular necromancer with which Baltrice has a particular score to settle. The very same necromancer that was responsible for the very zombie horde that she just finished cleaning up.

After Baltrice gets over the shock of realizing that just one person was responsible for all these zombies...

(And who wouldn't be after we were specifically told that no one person, even Nicol Bolas himself, could have summoned so many zombies... and then we were told that Nicol Bolas himself summoned all those zombies... and now we see Tezzeret tell Baltrice that Liliana did it all? He's either laying with a particular agenda in mind which could be a possibility, didn't pay attention to what Liliana Vess was saying because he got bored with her long winded apologizes and info dump that she gave him, or this is just yet another inconsistency within the book.)

...She tells him that he can't know how much this means to her, and then she does something that surprises even him. Baltrice puts two fingers to her mouth and a very alive and now tame etherium drake swoops down from the sky and Baltrice hops on and she tells Tezzeret that he can't make that gate fast enough. She's ready to go necromancer hunting.

Tezzeret opens the gate, and Baltrice and her new pet Mr. Shinypants leave for Bant.


It's time to take on the puzzle that is the Labyrinth. With Silas Renn's head and cage in his hands, Tezzeret sits upon the glass sand with his legs crossed and stares at the Labyrinth.

I cannot say how long I sat there. Days, at least. Months? Years? There is no way to know. At some point, my injuries healed. I didn’t notice. The power I drew from the vast wealth of etherium at my command relieved me of any need to eat, drink, or eliminate, and it did so without requiring the intervention of my attention or any fraction of my consciousness at all. I needed all my consciousness for something else.

I was watching myself solve the Labyrinth.

By tapping into Renn’s temporal perception, I could trace the probability-ghosts of myself entering the Labyrinth, and once inside, my own knack for rhabdomancy enabled me to track them by the etherium they—I—carried. Will carry. Potentially. Every twist, every turn, every ascent, descent, or jump.

And with his power of rhabdomancy, Tezzeret keeps track of where each of these versions of himself while his hands build a three dimensional model of the paths he takes from each of the twelve entrances. Paths began to join with one another. Markers were left to indicate magical transit points. And by the time he maze was nearly half filled the answer came to him all at once. Tezzeret could see it all. It made perfect mathematical sense in a way that he knew he could complete the rest the Labyrinth model with perfect precision.

I saw without sight, heard without sound, smelled without scent, felt without touch. Kneeling within this heartbreakingly perfect sanctum that was the only possible answer to the question of my existence, I thought: What do you say without saying? And discovered the answer was obvious.

The joining of mechanics and time … is a clock.

Crucius …

The interpenetrating structure I had built around myself—the etherium model of the relational matrix of the twelve Halls around me—was perfect. Was inevitable. Was impossible.

Was context.

What makes a clock work is the engineering of its mechanics. What makes it beautiful is the elegance of its construction. What makes it perfect is the precision of its heart.

There is no heart more precise than mine. I had no need to find the center of the Crystal Labyrinth. I was the center.

I had become the hands of the clock.

What I said without saying was I am here.

And I was.


* * *

Back to Basics

Let's skip over most of the nitpicks I might have with this chapter. We've finally hit upon something worth reading again. This is what I was hoping that clockingworking was all about. The ability to see future probabilities in and of itself is a concept that is fun and interesting and isn't overpowered because there are limitations. There are limitations into how far a person can see, and the limitation that that less likely something is to happen, the harder it is to see it.

Originally when I first heard about clockworking I was hoping that Tezzeret vs. Silas Renn battle was going to be like a chess match where Tezzeret thinks just one step ahead of him and he forces Silas Renn to maneuver himself into checkmate because each of the earlier steps seemed at the time to be the moves that would have the highest probability of defeating Tezzeret. But as more and more additions to the ability were being added, I knew that wasn't going to be the case.

But now we've come back to the basics of clockworking, and look at how wonderful it is! The thought of Tezzeret sitting in the sand just staring at the building in front of him (beginning while the sun is setting I might add add) is a beautiful picture to imagine. Or don't even imagine a picture, but a timelapse as potential days, or months, or years pass by while Tezzeret remains nearly imobile except for his building away of his model while the sun rises and falls and the desert storms and calms.

There's a nice serenity to it.

Then you add the layer that while everything is so peaceful and simple on the outside, Tezzeret himself is staring at numerous/innumerable copies of himself moving throughout the labyrinth, copies that he cannot see except by tracking them by way of rhabdomancy, all the while his mind is chugging away at the puzzle before him that is finding his way to the center of the Crystal Labyrinth. The whole scene is spectacular!

Basic clockworking has a nice balance of potential and limitations that it can create something quite splendid like this.

Too bad so many extra abilities were added on to it that it lost all sense of fun. Not because of power creep, but rather due to a full on power surge.

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