Monday, 14 November 2011

Project Sky-Shell 011

Chapter 6 (continued)

Tyrzo had finally returned to his secret hideout. Even a genius such as him had sometimes ideas that were in hindsight probably not as good as they had seemed at first. He had an ongoing love-hate relationship with his headquarters. In a way it was perfect, far removed from prying eyes, a spacious building burrowing into the soil of a property so big that he could comfortably add a couple of cities to it and not run out of space. It was also very close to his newest pet project. It was also insufferable. Far away from any kind of civilisation, getting there was always an incredible pain in the arse. Every emergency was invariably close to being a disaster.

    Every extension of the base was a massive undertaking, especially as this was supposed to be a secret base, thus necessitating that Tyrzo did all of the work himself. He had tried automatons but they were simply to stupid to get any kind of work beyond the most simple done. He might have used automatons with imprisoned souls animating them to help him out but then what? There was no way he was using slave labour for his personal sanctum. People had called Tyrzo all manner of things but he was not a slaver. Even if he had found people volunteering for this kind of work he could not let them go and spill his secrets, now could he. He was also not a murderer. His close associates, calling them friends would have been a dangerous misconception, was also mostly out of the question as most of them would not recognize a days worth of hard honest work even if it had been explained by the best tutors of the Order of Reason.
    In the end his love for his chosen home won out every time and that was because his hideout had one thing in abundant supply.

    Through incredible effort, painstaking planing and innovations in the field of magic he had built him self a base on the dark side of the moon.
Ever since Tyrzo had been a child he had dreamed of becoming a research mage. Could there be anything more exiting that to extract the secrets of nature? With every step bringing mankind closer to complete enlightenment. Tyrzo doubted that all the secrets of the world would be solved in the near future but that was exactly was what made research so exiting for him. So many new things to learn, so many strange riddles posed by reality that just waited to be solved by a brilliant mind.

    But that was not the only reason why he was drawn to magic. The other reason were the robes, the towers, the laboratories. The knowledge came with all these wonderful trappings that made it look even more exiting than it was on its own. He remembered the feeling he had when he had bought his first tower. On top of an cantankerous looking rock overlooking a suitably tiny and adorably backwards village. The villagers themselves though painfully ignorant had been incredibly sweet people which had surprised Tyrzo a bit. He had been hoping for a bit more pitchforks and torches. But then it was actually much nicer to be approached by his new neighbours who had actually taken an interest into his work, not that they really understood what he was doing but there was a real interest in his work, especially coming from the children. In the end he helped out the villagers using his combination of knowledge and magic to improve their lives and educating their young and they brought him food, drink and company. In a way that had been the best time of his life. He had positively been living his childhood dream. Researching at night in his tower, out alone in the wilderness bringing the gift of knowledge to the people still living in darkness.
    Things did turn sour after a generation though. Not because of the villagers. They were lovely. But because of the local lord who had started to raise the taxes to levels quickly rising above the ridiculous. This led to a small revolt that Tyrzo helped to incite. When the armed tax collectors came to set the record straight they were confronted by Tyrzo who had been sitting cross legged on the main road just outside the village. He gave them a little chest full of money containing what he told them was a reasonable amount of tax money and told them to get lost. They declined. He kicked all manner of things out of them sending them packing. Shortly after he learned why the idiot lord was so busy squeezing his people. There was a war going on with some neighbour or other. So the next thing that came was not another better armed tax patrol or a mercenary warrior mage, instead it was the battle front that washed over them.

   The war like most conflicts was an utter farce fuelled by the greed of the powerful, fought up on the backs of the common people. Tyrzo repelled the invading army with help of the lord's troops but he had a hard time seeing any difference between the two fighting powers. After the battle was over he paid both lords a visit and told them very emphatically that they would stop troubling his village or face the consequences. Tyrzo was far younger back then and a bit of an idiot he had to admit himself. In the end after some nasty escalation had to leave his tower so that the villagers could live in peace again. But he had left that episode with a couple of lessons learned. One was that the only thing that separated the common people from those in power was usually a lack of education and that those in power had the tendency to slip into behaviours that were detrimental for the good of all. He himself had fallen into that trap. Him! A genius! There was only one way out of it. Universal enlightenment. The more everyone knew the better the situation for all would be. This had steered him into the arms of the Order of Reason for almost two centuries. Their meritocratic society, their neutral political stance, their eternal quest to foster the advancement of knowledge and fighting superstition wherever it showed its ugly head were all very close to his heart. But in the end he had left. There had been arguments, differences in opinion. In the end the Order while a important stepping stone but he had to move forward to go looking for a solution on his own.
   Remembering that he was expecting visitors he focused on the present again. There were still things that he had to take care off. First on the list was to find a solution to his energy problem. One of the many problems of having a house on the dark side of the moon was getting sufficient energy to that damned place. Back on the planet there were so many sources of energy that it never really was a problem. There was a sun shining every day, wind blowing, the heat of the deep earth, the life force of the plants, many things. On the moon. On the moon there was nothing. It was simply a round rock, mostly flat on the backside, the most exiting thing there was large stone column attaching it to its track in the sky, but that was about it. The sun was no help either. The day on the 'shadow' side of the moon when it came was short and extremely painful. Tyrzo had learned that the hard way. Again his enthusiasm had gotten the better of him. He had started building his house during the night acknowledging the eventual day but not really thinking that it would be a big deal.
   Tyrzo winced as he remembered his first sunlit day in his new home. The feeling of being burned, baked and suffocated alive at the same time while he frantically dug himself deeper and deeper into the hard moon rock wondering how far the heat of the sun could possibly reach. Humility came hard to Tyrzo. Usually by knocking down the door flying feet first into his face. He seriously hoped that these kind of missteps on his side would soon be part of his past.
   By now his house was sun hardened. But that did not solve the energy crisis. The sun blasted his hideout with the ferocity... well of a sun, but he could hardly harness any of its power, he was mostly busy redirecting the heat away from his house. At first he had though of concentrating the energy onto s few spots of moon rock causing it to melt and so retain some of the heat energy. But moon-stone had an incredible heat capacity soaking up enormous amounts of energy while barely ever heating up. Instead it transmitted the energy to the far side of the satellite where the energy was released in the form of moon-light. Tyrzo consoled himself that was one more secret wrested from nature. It had also solved his lighting problem, but the rest remained.
   He entered his newest deepest vault, hidden behind a ridiculous amount of portals, doors and air-locks. They were there not out of any real necessity, all of these obstacles actually retracted automatically when they felt his presence. It was mostly to keep up appearances, this was to the benefit of the guest he housed at the end of this particular tunnel. After he was done with it he had modified the head of a soul-prison automaton to be fitted on top of a soul-containment bottle. He had placed that on the top of the one containing the soul of Shar Nizlaal the wonderful individual the world had to thank for soul-prisons in the first place, for them and for the technology to burn souls to extract the enormous amounts of energy they held within.
   He had then walked with the now conscious Nizlaal down this very long corridor dutifully going through the motions of opening every single gate and door. The locking mechanisms of which grew ever more ridiculous the further inside they got, explaining in detail how impenetrable each one of them was, how much more secure this place was than the Fortress of Terminal Justice. When he had finally arrived in the cramped final chamber he had placed the head gingerly on top a of plinth especially built to hold the bottle with its new head. To round things of he had looked Nizlaal directly into the eyes and told him that even if there was anyone else in the world who would want to free his filthy soul they would never find him here on the dark side of the moon. The pushed the nose of the immobile automaton face in front of him, turned around cape fluttering dramatically walking away laughing his best overlord laugh. The doors only closing after he had left the corridor starting with that furthest from Nizlaal and ending with the one next to him leaving him conscious in the dark.
   Now Tyrzo had returned with a perfectly formed diamond rod in his hands. "Good morning Shaar. How are you feeling today?" he asked cheerfully.
"I almost feel sorry that no one has come up with a way to make prison-automatons that can talk, I'd love to hear your opinion on how we have expanded on your early work." Tyrzo lied. While not very popular voice modules for prison automatons existed. Despite his enormous talents he did not know how to build one himself which was a bit of a problem for other reasons. It was also unfortunate that getting one of them would take a while.

"You know, I have been very impressed both by your work as well as by your methods. You have always been a great role-model for me. When ever I was in a situation that you may consider a moral grey area, I thought what would Shar Nizlaal the greatest monster do in my stead. And then I would do the exact opposite." he grinned broadly tapping the head in front of him gently with the diamond rod.

"Another thing I did was asking myself what a monster such as yourself could possibly had to do as to pay for his monstrous deeds. So many hours that I spent trying to find a way to avenge all those innocent people that you murdered, those who you tortured in life, then in death only to destroy their otherwise immortal souls for ever." Tyrzo paused for a moment his smile fading, "I still to this day have problems imagining the magnitude of your crimes. I always asked my self what kind of mind such a monster must have. How twisted and evil it had to be. Until I got a first hand look. I must say that I was after the shock had slowly subsided. . . did you know that you can scrub yourself so hard under a shower that you start to bleed? Even after you have used your shell-art as a reflex to harden it? Funny thing, your nails also harden in instinct."

    Tyrzo paused for a moment. "Where was I? Mind of a monster? A yes. Of course I had a peek into your mind. What a disappointment that turned out to be. I was expecting some sort of inhuman evil yet what I found was a small, selfish mind. You just didn't give a toss, did you? It was all so fascinating, it was so rewarding to find out all these things. The cries of agony, they were just a distraction. You even though about ways of silencing them or finding a way to quench the pain, but no that would have been a waste of effort, right?" by now Tyrzo's voice was shaking very slightly in anger. He wished that he had a head which could express feelings. But that kind of technology was sadly also out of his reach, both in skill and distance. He would have loved to have seen fear in the faze of Shar Nizlaal. But one can not have everything in life. Maybe someday later.
    With his voice again cold and hard he continued "In a way what I am about to do now makes me to a much greater monster than you ever were. You and your tiny shrivelled mind. I can very well imagine what others feel. I can see the pain of others, feeling it almost as if it were my own. I also know mercy and kindness. And yet. And yet I will push all these feelings aside. I will consciously ignore them to cause you the most horrible pain anyone has ever felt and I will make sure that it will last forever. Where you mindlessly chose to hurt people I chose to do so deliberately. While you were sitting her all alone in the darkness, hopefully going insane from boredom I did my research. I got the best figures I could find to find out how many you made suffer. I do not want to cause you more pain than you have caused others after all."
    Tyrzo held up the diamond rod "See this? This is the conduit that will connect your rotten soul to the machines surrounding you. This will become your crowning achievement. Parts of your soul are going to be removed from its core, transported into furnace arrays, without breaking the connection to your juicy core mind you, where they then will be slowly burnt. all of these are extensions of your own work. In a way this makes me your greatest pupil. Under other circumstances some of the things I invented to make this work would doom me like you to a nice solitary shelve in the Fortress of Terminal Justice followed by eventual evaporation. But as we happen to be on the moon were there is only my house I guess I will let this slide past this one time. After all now you will really experience some justice and the best part is by powering my home with your horrid soul you provide me here with the energy I needed so urgently to advance my own plans." Tyrzo fitted the diamond rod into the socket into which it had to be placed only the upper end not quite connecting. He held it with his left index finger finishing his little speech, "This time you will actually take part in something good. In something for the benefit of all. Maybe in this way you will eventually pay for all your crimes." Tyrzo's smiled broadened. He pushed the rod completely into its slot.
    The diamond connector began to glow in the soft gold hues of a souls energy, the gemstone wires starting to glow as the power of the essence of Nizlaal's soul was passed through them. There was a light shudder sending a vibration through the entire complex as the first furnace array sprang to life starting to burn the trickle of soul that was dripped slowly into it. The room around Tyrzo began to pulsate while the eyes of the prison-construct's head began to flicker.

    "If you excuse me, I am expecting guests shortly and we both a have a lot of work to do."

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