Glint Part 2 – Fragment

February 16, 2012

“We are men, but we are also machines. Just because the metal is on the outside, does not mean that it is any way not a part of us.” He flip flopped his hands from one side to the next. “We use them to make us stronger; to make us faster; to let us fly. We are technology and we are machine men.” He levelled a finger at Guus. “You know, they say that once, long ago, that we could not even speak? Not utter a single word? Or make fire or wear clothes? Imagine that. Imagine it! And look at us now…

“They say gods gave us all this. Some say. The fools say such things. I have created much myself…many a trinket that no god took any part in and I also know the histories; our oldest ones and those of others too. Legends from the West. Lands far away that we have barely heard of and that your sons of sons of sons will never even know. From there came the fires of civilisation with great men of science and alchemy and some that have the power to change even Man. With such knowledge and our machines, just wonder what we could create…”

He flashed something from his palm and Guus thought he might have seen a glint of metal. It disappeared, seemingly melting into the man’s hands. The man sneered wily at Guus’s reaction and then continued speaking.

“Our first technology was speech. Did you know that? From there our technological innovations became our evolution, eclipsing the hit-and-miss advancements of our biology exponentially! To what end? Well you know that, Mister Tanner, and that’s why you’re here. Because of your friend and her immortality.”

“Yes…my friend.” Guus held the man’s deep brown eyes. They were like that of an animal’s. “And you. Where do you fit into this? Why are you here in this cage?”

“I don’t think that you could understand what I understand. This technology I think you would call it magic.”

“There is only one way to find out.”

Suddenly the man cocked an ear. Spreading out his hands slowly onto the ground he lowered himself down to his belly and listened closely to the dirt. Guus watched his every movement.

“I can feel them. They’re unsettled. Groaning.”

Guus was about to ask for explanation, but only swallowed. Deep down he knew the answer, and he did not need to know any more about what lay below the earth. As if knowing Guus’s thoughts the man turned his head towards Guus.

“I am one of them, you know? One of the only successes and now I am abandoned here. Think of me as their king and this place my castle.” He looked around and then he looked back at Guus realising something. “Perhaps you could understand. You have the automaton and are a man of the sciences of machines. Perhaps you could very well expand your mind a little further.”

With alacrity he pulled up his ragged shirt sleeves and bore his dirty hands before Guus. “My name is Offenil. That is my true name, but it holds no power now. It is merely a title. A grouping of sounds. Scrap metal. That is why I can give this to you. It will no longer work from me.”

From the very middle of his left hand he plucked out an object. It came from his very hand, from what seemed like within it, turning from pink into dull brass. Guus stiffened.

“I could have pulled it from my nose if that would have made you more comfortable? What your eyes see and what is real are two very different things. Do not let them always lead you.”

He presented the device now, laid out snugly in the palm of his hand. It was brass, dull and looked like four even circles melded together.

“The Wrigg do not know I have this, but it will no longer work for me and can no longer help me…except through you. Do you know your true name? That is the one key. To know the true representation of all you are; be it a word, action, or thing…You need that power to work it and these Wrigg used mine to exhaustion.”

Offenil laid the device into Guus’s hands and Guus handled it like he would a snake, half fearing it would meld into his own hands and disappear. Offenil looked concerned.

“You do know your true name, don’t you?”

“I have recently learnt it…however, I am still not sure if it’s true or not.”

“Well, be sure, because you will need it to turn back, because this, young master, is a transformation device.”

Transformation? Guus thought and held the brass clover-like device still more tentatively. Machines were his thing. Making things with metal. Logical, straightforward things. Magic was not real. It was not supposed to be, but the still eyes of Offenil, insane as they were, did not lie. The man made machines, too. Magic machines.

“You must keep this key with you.” He said. “Or give it to someone you trust. Just keep it safe. Do not lend it to the wrong hands, otherwise, you could become like me: transformed and unable to return to your true self.”

“Transformed? What transformation?”

“Why…anything. Anything you know. Anything you really know down to its core and heart. This science is quite simple. The simplest and smallest buildings blocks that make us up are all alike. It is just about rearranging them.”

“And you are changed? What were you?”

“You would think me mad! Madder than you do now, anyhow. I have few secrets left in this world, and I would keep but one from you. I have little else left.”

“So, I can change? How can I?”

“You will know, as it will know, and you will see…as you change, it changes.”

“That’s just a senseless riddle. How can I use that?”

“I made it, but I can’t tell you for I was changed by another device, and this one is different, and every time it’s different. I wouldn’t want you to lead you astray. Make sure you know your true name, that’s the first thing, and then, when the time is right, imagine that your head is full of machines. Imagine being just a machine attached to a body. Know that we are made of parts and gears and can change. That nothing really keeps us together but changeable rules. The words came to me and words have real power because they can’t rust or bend or break or melt but just flow and flow and flow…” He spun his finger around. “And then you’ll get it!” He snapped his fingers.

“So, I’ll see what happens, then, will I?” Guus said to himself more than to the other man, who had gone still again and perfectly sane looking. “Just prepare myself and see.”


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