Welcome to Moorcock's Miscellany

Dear reader,

Many people have given their valuable time to create a website for the pleasure of posing questions to Michael Moorcock, meeting people from around the world, and mining the site for information. Please follow one of the links above to learn more about the site.

Thank you,
Reinart der Fuchs
See more
See less

Three, Two, ONE

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts
  • Kruger
    The Maker and The Unmaker
    • Jan 2014
    • 39

    Three, Two, ONE

    For my smith whom keeps my claws sharp

    The journal was sitting atop the anvil. He’d found it immediately on entering but had no idea where it had come from. The notebooks on his desk remained where he had left them. It was their contents that had him here so late… again. One was aged, the pages yellow and brittle to the touch. This one was the cause of Kruger’s mental unrest. It never seemed to matter how often he put the thing down and walked away, invariably he would return and read once more the notations in the margins. Formulas rested there, and they had captured his mind. The main pages were filled with techniques that he knew already, those he didn’t he understood well though. The process of the smith who wrote the journal was the same as any smith would pass on.

    Forge temperatures, brine calculations, and heating times for the metals worked with. Folding techniques were present, but all of this was things he’d mastered long ago. The other notebook was his, within its pages were calculations, drawings of spirals that spun out in different directions. At the base of all those pages was a final word, failed. Kruger picked up the leather bound journal and opened it, the pages were blank. He was in a way grateful to whoever had left it there. It gave him a mystery that didn’t have his mind reciting numbers and trying to fit them into his formula. It freed him enough to start the fires in the forge and close the door to the shop. Kruger locked it tonight, he didn’t want to be disturbed in his contemplation.

    The forge fire flickered off the walls and filled the air with the sulfurous smell of brimstone. Lighting the forge had been the key to the mystery. The answer had him smiling as an inscription on the inside cover became visible by the flicker of light and shadow. For my smith whom keeps my claws sharp. Of course it would have been her. He’d last seen her at the inn, she had stood over his shoulder and pointed to the notebook on his lap asking if he’d remembered to square a variable. She was gone just as quickly though, Kruger had begun to believe that she had been a hallucination brought on by the constant struggle to make his numbers function the way they should. Maybe she was telling him something by leaving the journal for him to find. That it wasn’t enough to simply calculate and recalculate. Maybe he needed to clear his thoughts somewhere too? Maybe she was right.

    He sat and pulled a pen from his desk setting aside both notebooks and putting the journal in the place. The tip of the pen hit the page, but Kruger was drawing a blank of where to start. He closed his eyes, and all that came to his mind were those repeating cycles and the spiral that went along with them. This was where he would begin.

    0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55… It’s so strange, I can see them and count them out to infinity. I know in my heart that infinity is where the event happens, yet that is wrong. The event should be controlled. I ought to be able to see… no, I ought to be able to program where the event occurs. I ought to be able to limit the diameter of the opening so that only what I need comes through. There is a failing somewhere, but the formula always works mathematically. I can’t see it with my naked eye but I can feel the point where the tunnel bends away and chaos knows exactly where it ends up.

    I see now what caused the flaws in my early creations. Five stable points was not accurate enough. It may have gone close to where I wanted it, but somehow it was slightly altered. I’m seeing these spirals everywhere now. I watched a dust swirl roll up the street the other day and knew the calculations that created its funnel. I could see every factor that created the swirl. The opening at the end of the street where the wind entered the block is where it began. The wind hit the face of the gem cutter and rebounded into the solid wall of the stable across from it. From the alleyway another influx of wind put a spin to the first, feeding energy into it until it was strong enough to raise the dust and carry it along.

    It’s worse than that though, I knew that for the little funnel cloud to form in that particular spot, the wind had to come from the exact angle it was. In my head I could see every viable place for such a formation based on the winds direction. I feel like I am going mad here, these concepts are so hard to explain to anyone. I don’t have the right words. The realization had me altering my bellows though, and watching the effect on the flames in the forge. That experiment led me to create a variable exhaust from the bellows. I can now change the angle of they blow from, I can reduce the opening to change the pressure at which they blow. The result, greater heat that is able to be precisely where I need it.

    This gives me more variables to work with, and I have been… When did I realize what it was that I had? Not till after Brian had given me the other smithy surely. I believe I understand now, there are seven pieces that possess the ability to aid in these gateways. I have discovered that I now have two of them. That’s what has changed, I feel it differently than I did before. What would happen if I had them all? What more could I do? Maybe it is me? It stands to reason that I am that eighth anchor point, my mind is so unstable now. I fight every day to keep the numbers from overwhelming me and sitting down to do more calculations. I am chaos.

    Horn of Plenty and Time and Unity
    Last edited by Kruger; 08-30-2014, 07:06 PM. Reason: aesthetics
    The essence of light and dark rests on a fulcrum.
    Your actions determine where lays the balance.
    I am the fulcrum.
  • Kruger
    The Maker and The Unmaker
    • Jan 2014
    • 39

    Tears In Heaven

    Would you know my name
    If I saw you in heaven?
    Would it be the same
    If I saw you in heaven?
    ~ Eric Clapton and Will Jennings

    The discovery of words, her words written in the journal, had startled him at first. Not that she had the ability to do so, rather that she chose to. How many times had he read them always picking up his pen and setting it aside? There was more to this than a simple means to talk despite his desire to make it just that. He was deep beneath the earth now, nestled away in the underground forge. The journal had come with him. Another decision that he’d seesawed on repeatedly. The truth of the matter was that in the end he couldn’t remember including it in the other things he’d brought to this place.

    Beneath the parabolic stone ceiling sat the anvil that once had been placed in his shop. It couldn’t stay there. That determination had come when he had contemplated bringing the ebon forge to the shop. That they were a pair had become obvious to him the night he’d spent dismantling the forge to clean it. The truth of it was easy to believe upon seeing the carved musical scale and the inlaid F note. It was about many things for him. His mind fell back to his greatest sin, and the reprisals given to him for asking one fatal question. “Why?” The question still haunted him.

    He wasn’t being so mundane as to wonder why him. His question as offered could have been phrased better with the use of ‘how’. For him it was just a question of semantics. ‘Why does it work?’ That understandable question fell on one who didn’t understand it. He’d given up blame long ago, but the consequences were still etched into his skin. There had been fear at the branding, yet somehow he felt his old master feared Kruger’s questions more than Kruger had ever feared him. The chamber served to resonate his voice, it wasn’t echoes exactly, more of swirling foci that sent the word up and away from him into that makeshift dome.

    Kruger’s breath sighed out of him, he gave a nod ready to finally speak with her again. This One she called herself. She remained Morinna to him. He’d hurt her out of some kind of tough love, and she’d let him. Worse than that was that she had actually come to him for it. Perhaps people would find their relationship some kind of perversion. Maybe they would be right, but it worked for them both. She was the weapon, he was a weapons smith. The symbiosis between them may never be understood by those who looked at them individually.

    Other smiths might have served the same purpose. It had been chance alone, or maybe some strange function of chaos, that had him first approach her at the little flower stand. It had been Kruger who took the time to return the edge to her claws that she had allowed to be dulled. There would be those who blamed him if they knew how he had worked against them. Those he saw as trying to tame her, to make her feel remorse for things she did. Others wanted her destruction, he’d opposed them before and would again. They seemed to judge by their own moral standards asking how can she do such things. His own question he felt was more to the point. She was a weapon, how could she not. Tools can be made into weapons, but weapons, even the best of them fail when you try to make them tools. Try to cut paper with a sword and you can, it will never be what you need it to though.

    Starting would be simpler today, there had been less of an issue behind the mathematics of the process. She’d been right, there were many pieces involved in the forge. Many things he was learning as he delved deeper. These were the things he wanted Morinna to know. He needed her, there were others who could serve his purpose, but she had chosen him. He wanted to deserve it. He wanted to make her proud of him.

    You’re right, there are other tools involved here. I’ve moved my experiments though, I feel I need to. The fact is that I have moved the anvil which began my understanding to a place that Brian, no it was Raven, the two still confuse me. Regardless, I have moved the anvil to that place underground. Funny how the spiral works, the very corridor into this place is another of them. It takes me back to the ancient smiths of the Bronze Age. Often they used the same method of entry. Some would say to add mysticism to their work. They were quite secretive after all, but if I listen, I can hear any approach from above along the carved walls. If the people above knew what I was about, they would try to stop me Morinna, and I can’t allow myself to be stopped this time. I refuse to be ignorant any longer.

    Perhaps you would be interested to know what I am finding? The forges are alive, there are seven of them. They are only partly alive though. Separation of the pieces has allowed for some of us to excel in the field. The placement of the anvil is temporary. I work to replace what’s been missing from them both, beginning with the bellows. Discoveries are strange and individually they are just random facts. I’ve told you my work with the bellows already, but I have come to realize that what I possess is too small to do the job. It is not strong enough to breathe the life back into the forge. As it stands the forge is like an aged pneumatic patient barely getting enough breath to survive. This realization came from what I am calling The Gallery. Its function has been to use sound to channel energy. Without the dome there can be no quantum tunnel.

    Until recently I thought a dome was enough, now I realize I have limited myself because the dome must breathe as well. Ductwork is necessary, and the ability to regulate positive and negative pressures. As it stands, I can only open gates if I am operating at specific frequencies. Too much or too little and the result is failure. The gateway becomes unstable. I can fix it, the bellows must be enlarged. It must be multi-chambered. There needs to be as many ports from the bellows as there are chambers. Therein lies the first of my ideas, the ports being adjustable. The intakes and exhausts for the ductwork must be variable as well. Like a pipe work on and organ smaller ports and pipes for different sounds. I am not proposing the ducts become music makers, merely that I am able to adjust the pressures. Resonance will become adjustable based on wave interference.

    It may be possible that if I am able to trap sounds I don’t want, that I may be able to do the same with light. I am at a loss right now as to how to run such tests. I can see it all Morinna, though I am still working out how. It is an overly complex system of determination chaos. This is illustrated through the cycle of a double rod pendulum. I’ve yet to determine if that means I have multiple pendulums or a single one with many rods. I know that if I can find the beginning, and know the factors, I can plot the course. I can make these quantum tunnels go where I want them. Maybe even to you.

    I’d hoped to keep this clinical Morinna, a sharing of thoughts and ideas, but I just don’t know how to do that. That you’ve needed to share your mind with these copies doesn’t really surprise me. Oddly I don’t look at them as copies, if they were to come before me they would simply be you. What one knows all do, or am I wrong about that? I could be, I can admit that much. Others might tell you to be careful in your war, you know I am not others. Do what you were made for, what I’ve known since the moment I first took your hand. I don’t know your origin, or why your bodies are failing. Another puzzle for my mind I suppose. I’ve worked with intelligent weapons before, always it is the same struggle. They wish to rid themselves of their rigid bodies without ever realizing that the one they seek to enter is far feebler.

    This is not you that I am talking about, but the imperfect constructions of wizards and smiths. Few realize the long term effect on the mind of the sword. Containment is the problem, being wielded by another is all they can ever hope for. You wield yourself, your mind is vast. It’s no wonder so many wish to control you. I want you to break free of limitations, my repairs while semi-effective are but a stopgap. I want to do more, you deserve better than the best I have available. The thought of your end saddens me, even though I know this is illogical at best. I for one do not believe you deserve nightmares. You’ve been pure always, purity is rewarded, or at least it should be.

    If you go to the dream, will I be there? Will it be for good or for ill? Will my secrets be discovered before you get there? Will those who would stand against me send me to that place first? Would you know my name if I saw you there?


    Kruger closed the cover on the journal and kept the silence that had become a part of him.

    Pressure and Motion at St. Paul's and Double Rod Pendulum
    The essence of light and dark rests on a fulcrum.
    Your actions determine where lays the balance.
    I am the fulcrum.


    • Kruger
      The Maker and The Unmaker
      • Jan 2014
      • 39


      There are many things that I would like to say to you
      But I don't know how
      I said maybe
      You're gonna be the one that saves me
      ~ Written by Noel Gallagher Performed by Oasis

      The new conduits had come, Kruger spent a great deal of time putting them into place. Morinna had provided him with pieces of her, they were far from the real thing, save in the way they looked. The underground construction was progressing though. He kept coming back to the journal though, reading the words over and over. They made him smile, not just the personal parts but the sharing of ideas. She understood what he was doing, more than that she knew where it would take him. The space beneath the city was being carved out in near secret. Kruger carried the journal with him now, inspecting the new parts of this underground forge.

      He listened to the sound, noted how they changed based on where he stood. This had been the goal, the funneling of sounds through arches and the crystal conduits. He was satisfied with how things had developed. There was a precision in that one wouldn’t expect in a place that had become so large. He could in essence tune the resonance of sound to allow only those frequencies which he wanted. He could raise and lower the temperature of the conduits to adjust the oscillation in the crystals. There were other steps that needed to be taken though.

      Kruger sat in a corner with that journal in his lap and a pen ready to start writing. The soot on his hands smudged dark fingerprints onto the page he’d opened to. The real Morinna had come to him on three occasions since her last entry. Once just before she transferred, and then there was Beltane. He’d never felt quite so secure as when he walked with her through those crowded streets. The touch of her metal claws was something that terrified some people. It only ever comforted him. He wasn’t blind, the looks from people they both knew weren’t missed. They didn’t understand, and he couldn’t make them understand. They hold their weapons sheathed, covering the dangerous sharp edges. They were the same ones that tried to sheath Morinna, which was something he could never do. Morinna’s beauty was in being exposed for all to see.

      I’ve discovered something. It’s been there all along staring at me and mocking me with its simplicity. The fault is not the math, for so long I’ve been wondering where my flaw is in the mechanics. How fitting that the flaw is the opening variable, the Point of Origin. The notes I’ve put down, every one of them precisely worked out and still my experiments were failing. I’ve been starting in the wrong place though. The book from which I have gained so much insight does not come from Raedelin. All of its variables begin from another world and that needs to be accounted for.

      I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten to thank you. The crystals arrived in good shape. The pair of drones you sent are adapting them to the layout I need. I needed to alter one of them though, they were so similar that often times I couldn’t tell which one I had given what instructions. I asked Red One to change her hair color, that’s where the designation came from. She turned it a bright red color, that instruction was taken up by Black One as well. It has increased how efficiently we work together. I wonder what you would think of this place now. The resonances are incredibly beautiful, even the harshest of sounds echo through and create such intoxicating harmonics. I wanted to show you the last time you were here, but you needed to leave so quickly. Have faith, I will not fail. There is too much that has become clear to me.

      I need to discover where I am, to find my position relative to the notebook where all this began. The cosmos are huge though, I fear that I need to learn how to map star charts now. Where am I, can I find that and if I can then can I find you out there? Why do all my answers breed more questions? Why do I feel like all the answers are stuck in time?

      I didn’t know how much I missed you until I saw you. Your company the other day was something I hadn’t expected. I can still feel the edges of your claw on my skin. Knowing that you would avenge me with those same claws is probably more comfort than I deserve. Sometimes it’s a distraction, but it isn’t unwelcome. I probably left you curious, there are other realms and other pieces of the forge that must be investigated. I have a few ideas where I need to look for that. It makes a strange kind of sense who I must go to for that.

      I’ve been avoiding writing, I’ve had to get to a point where this is beneficial to the project. For me that meant suppressing feelings that you would call sentiment. Still, I will say that I miss you when you’re away. I wouldn’t dream of pulling you from your duties though. I’ll leave you with one last thought. If anyone were to send you to the dream, they too would find their way to you by my hand. Each of them with a message directly from me so that you could know the swath of destruction I lay down for you.

      Kruger closed the notebook once more. He looked up as Red One passed in front of him carrying another of the crystalline tubes that were lining the walls of the underground chamber in ever increasing amounts.

      Harmonics and Point of Origin
      The essence of light and dark rests on a fulcrum.
      Your actions determine where lays the balance.
      I am the fulcrum.


      • Kruger
        The Maker and The Unmaker
        • Jan 2014
        • 39

        Black Hole Sun

        In my eyes, indisposed
        In disguises no one knows
        Hides the face, lies the snake
        The sun in my disgrace
        Boiling heat, summer stench
        'Neath the black the sky looks dead
        Call my name through the cream
        And I'll hear you scream again
        ~ Written by Chris Cornell, Performed by Soundgarden

        His mind was spinning with so many things, it was little wonder that the simplest of explanations hadn’t occurred to him. The construction of the underground forge was occupying much of his time. It had expanded in all directions, the ceiling rising to one hundred eleven meters at its highest point in the dome. Its length had grown to one hundred fifty eight meters.

        There were two wings, one at each side of the domed chamber. The entire place arched to maximize the resonance of sound waves. Both Red and Black One had been invaluable in the construction, even now they were helping to assemble the crystalline conduits that would run throughout the entire place. Kruger couldn’t help the pain in his chest as he watched them though. They had been deteriorating slowly. He’d been warned it would happen, but knowing hadn’t really prepared him for seeing it.

        They resembled her so much that sometimes he could imagine them to be the real One. Kruger had erected a large platform in the center of the domed chamber. A staircase wound its way around the outside of it to the top some ninety meters above the actual floor. The twisting staircase turned in the same direction as the hidden corridor that spiraled its way down to the forge. Atop that platform was the place where the smith would do his work. The platform was attached to a spindle that would allow him to turn the forge in whatever direction he needed it to be. The base of the dome was level with the top of the platform, it too had the ability to be turned. The vents and intakes would be paired up with crystal conduits which ran intricately through the caverns. Ports from the forge and the bellows would be used to increase temperature and pressure so that Kruger would be able to target specific resonances and eliminate others from his work. All of this had come from his research, every advancement of the new forge had come from studying and learning to understand as much as he could.

        How long ago had it been since Red had come to him and said he was needed. It had been true, though the need wasn’t what he’d expected. He stood atop that platform looking down on the pair of clones and realizing that they wouldn’t be with him much longer. Kruger understood that the part which was One would find its way back to her, yet having them here was a physical manifestation of One’s regard. When it was gone he’d be left with just the memory.

        Black One appeared at the top of the winding stair, she advanced on him expressionless in her hands was a journal. “You need this.” It was said flatly, a matter of fact to the clone though how she knew that he would need this now was beyond him. Kruger nodded accepting the mild burden, his stare following after Black One until she disappeared from sight. He traced the edges of the journal with the pad of his thumb, his forefinger curled to the top right corner and pulled open the book. Maybe she was right and this was exactly what he needed.

        The pages were smudged with his fingerprints. It was impossible to keep the thing in good shape with the nature of the work he did. If One had seen it, she hadn’t mentioned it, either she understood or those kinds of things didn’t find their way to her copy. The pen was in his hand as soon as he laid the journal atop the anvil. It was moving before he had clearly figured out what he wanted to say.

        It’s happening, much as you said it would. At first I couldn’t really see the degradation, now it becomes more obvious every day. That part of you which you have sent here will be back with you soon. I assume it will be retasked. It isn’t easy to watch though, I won’t put them down unless there is no other choice. They grow increasingly agitated, yet never towards me which I find interesting since I may be the most flawed thing in what they call a life. This shouldn’t be the point of writing though, I just… thought you would want to know.

        I’ve said before that there are answers stuck in time. This has received an odd mix of responses, the oddest perhaps being that time doesn’t really exist. Time is something created by men. This I cannot agree with. While I do concede that the measurement of time is created by people, time itself is linked with motion. The world is not in the same place today that it was yesterday. The universe continues to expand so even when the galaxy completes its revolution this planet, all planets are not in the same place. This is relative to the point of origin, except in that case I was speaking of world of occupation. Now I am speaking of what I will call time of origin, where am I now in regard to everything? I can’t use yesterday’s number for today’s work. I wouldn’t be able to go back there and do the work, at least not yet. The charts will help, the rate of universal expansion will help as well. Do you know where I am, when I am? It’s strange how things go, the more I understand the harder it is to do the work. Once I simply would have begun and done the work.

        That work is flawed, always and I am past understanding why that is. Now I can’t seem to get the work to function properly, yet for every failure I realize that I am closer to the truth behind it all. The time is coming when all the variables will be in place and the flaws will fall away from my creations. The tuning console will speed up the process, having that crystalline network integrated into the forge is key to the opening of the quantum tunnels. It will give this place a voice that can cause the barrier to shudder and vibrate enough to become insubstantial. That will allow passage for whatever I have attuned the forge too.

        We seem to spend a lot of time apologizing to one another only to be told there is no need. It’s true enough there is no need for you either, except that I have begun to believe that it is a way to convey that we wish it could be different. We both know it can’t though, there is no place for it. You must follow through, must consume them all and I must continue my endeavor and hope that it doesn’t drive me completely mad. You’re perfection is hoped for, and I would gladly stand as witness.

        Kruger closed the journal, knowing that he’d probably said more than he should have. He also knew that he hadn’t said nearly as much as he would have if he hadn’t forced himself to stop. He stood alone looking down on the face of the journal trying to find a way to finish his thoughts but all he could come up with was, “I know you must pursue your war, I miss you too.”

        Metric Expansion of Space
        The essence of light and dark rests on a fulcrum.
        Your actions determine where lays the balance.
        I am the fulcrum.


        • Kruger
          The Maker and The Unmaker
          • Jan 2014
          • 39

          Lightning Crashes

          Oh, now feel it comin' back again
          Like a rollin' thunder chasing the wind
          Forces pullin' from the center of the earth again
          I can feel it
          ~ Writen by Ed Kowalczyk, Performed by Live

          Three, the number could mean something if he let it. He saw them there always, but he hated it and the number would be transformed by him. It had to be because he couldn't linger in this state any longer. Three, the steps above him that he couldn't find the strength to ascend. Three ideas inside his mind all at the same time. Chaos flowed, it had to because there was no order in him, and it seemed forever since balance had been a part of his life. They were still there though, taunting the smith with their very presence as they wrestled one another for an outlet into his soul.

          Three and he was stuck looking at them cowering in his corner like a frightened child who's strength had been pulled from him in a vision of horror and violence. The pains that lanced through his injuries were nothing to what he would endure if anything but the chaos took him. Kruger couldn't move and the other two knew it. They watched him through eyes unreadable, at least unreadable to him. One moved, did it matter which One it was? Perhaps not, it could have been either of them, yet it wasn't and in the instant that Red had started Black moved faster cutting off Red from the stairs that wound up the pedestal which housed his forge some ninety meters high.

          Red paused, as Black's razor claws slid from her hands. Even now Kruger could hear them clicking noisily on the railing that he clung to. The vibrations moving through the tube steel and telling him how much closer she was coming to him. He still couldn't manage those last steps, no matter how ominous the approach of Black. She took her time. He couldn't help but think of them both as she, which was the form they were given, even if the spark that would make them truly women was never given to them. Slow or not those steps carried her closer to him and Kruger stood vulnerable, leaving his back open to Black.

          Would it be now, the moment when everything would come to an end? Would he pass never being able to will himself back up onto that platform and into the forge it housed on its surface? Would the breath whoosh from him at last in the sweetest of burning from blades so personal to the owner and the victim? He knew she was there and still flinched at her touch, cold metal on the exposed flesh of his back. Five lines of ice sent waves through nerve endings in a flood of thought and sensation. The other claw slipped around the hand that gripped the rail like a vice.

          Its touch was terrible and tender and more than anything it was exactly what he needed, as Black's palm slid down his forearm to squeeze his hand with softness that some might call concern for the man who stood frozen. Not quite frozen, Kruger's chin dropped to his chest and his eyes closed freeing tears that he hadn't known were setting just inside his lids. The burn had been there, but it could as easily have been the brimstone. Sulfur was an unfortunate byproduct of his work, It served its purpose in how it would affect the fires. It also announced the presence of the forge to anyone who knew what to look for.

          Her claw rose along his spine, the wickedly sharpened points dancing along the length of his neck and then infiltrating the hair on the back of his head. Then they were gone and only the fingers remained, fingers and the eyes that seemed like they almost understood him. She breathed, for some perhaps that would be hard to accept with how the pair of them were more robotic in their movements and conversation. He could hear it though, close to his ear and the shock of how her forehead suddenly rested on the side of his.

          "You are weak." Her voice was soft, the subtle breaths used to form them tickling the microscopic hairs of his lobe. There was no malice, but neither was there love in the tone. It was stated as flatly as every word from the pair of them ever was. It was enough to free him from his near catatonic state, but he didn't move up the stairs or down. His knees quivered for a moment before he dropped onto them. She was right, he was weak and not just in his body either.

          She seemed to sink with him her voice so similar to the one he really wished to hear. "I'm mortal and dabbling in things that have taken so much from me." There was a new sensation, though it was far off and barely registered to the smith. He could see Red's eyes burning as she looked up at him, at them, in the closest expression to curiosity that he'd ever seen on either of them. What would he see if he looked at black right now? One had warned him they may change if they started to degrade.

          Black didn't let go of him, she did nothing to move away from that almost intimate position. "I'm afraid." His words were barely a whisper, but the nod of Black's head was felt against his.

          "You are favored of the original, what is there to fear?" Kruger made a noise in the back of his throat at the question. It may have been a sob that he stifled with a final unwillingness to give in.

          "Failure... again, when all I want is to succeed." It was an admission he wouldn't have made even to his self. It was there though, in his avoidance of the forge. He could only claim it was the injury for so long.

          "The only failure is to quit working." Her words were monotone, flat like she had no idea how to express comfort no matter how much she wanted to.

          "And yet you haven't told her of the accident, of how I can't bring myself to make it to the forge." Black's fingers curled into a fist, trapping his hair and pulling. The sensation wasn't unwelcome to him. His breath exploded from him with the suddenness of it, the physical manifestation of pleasure at being treated so.

          "You must work, it is who you are." Her words were true enough, he knew them in his core and hated that he couldn't bring himself to begin. Kruger pulled himself up to his feet and looked at the stairs. Three simple steps and he would have stood there forever except that he felt Black's hand on his back supporting him. The first step was agony, it washed away every thought from his mind and left him focused. There was an order like he had never known, a singular pathway that could only be pushed through with determination.

          His second step eased tension he had knotted up into his muscles and not allowed to be free until that moment. With the third step he could see into the forge and in seeing it before him every possible creation he could imagine swam before him. Then came the maelstrom of chaos and Kruger knew he was home. The hand on his back disappeared.

          Black's voice carried itself to him on sound waves that set the air quivering with power. That's what he'd made here, a place of power that could be tapped if only one knew how. "You’ve waited too long again to have your bandages changed." The cold metal returned to his spine, blunt this time, the razor sharp implement slipping beneath the wrappings that coiled about his torso. There was no effort to sever the gauzy and blood soaked bandages. They fell away with the tickle, gossamer in the darkness.

          Black let them drop, turning to look down at Red. She said nothing, but her red headed twin moved off into the darkness returning moments later with a fresh supply. She ascended the stairs with more speed than Black had used. Kruger turned as he heard her make the final step. Black reached for the first aid equipment and looked to the soiled bandages that lay on the floor. Red moved forward and stooped to pick them up.

          Black's body became a blur of motion those claws emerging and catching what little light existed up here without the forge fires. Red's body dropped to the floor atop the bandages, her head rolled to the edge of the platform and dropped the ninety meters to the floor below. It exploded with a sickening pop when it hit. Black turned to Kruger then, claws dripping with Red's blood. She stooped and wiped them on what was left of Red.

          When she rose again her eyes bored into Kruger, but the claws disappeared again. "You killed her... why?" It was like a nightmare unfolding before him. They both looked like One, they were both her. Black's tone still held no emotion as she addressed the question.

          "She was flawed." Kruger shook his head not understanding.

          "But she was you." Black shook her head at him, looking at him as though he ought to understand something that was completely obvious.

          "Once she was me, but you made us different. You gave her a different path.” He'd only dyed the clone's hair so that he could more efficiently communicate. “You do not understand, you make us different. You do not use us, but work with us, alongside us. You change us. We both watched you fail to ascend, and in that moment we both knew we were different. Both of us wished for you to ascend, to help you ascend, only one of us wanted you to continue to be. Both steps were logical, and the original would have understood. The original favors her smith, and would have him continue." The smith finally understood, nodding to the clone that had just eliminated her other self.

          Black's face did something he'd never seen before, it smiled at him. She moved forward and began to re-dress the wound on the man's back. "How long before One knows and comes for you as well?"

          Black remained silent as she stood behind him wrapping the new bandages around his abdomen. "She knew the moment I acted."
          The essence of light and dark rests on a fulcrum.
          Your actions determine where lays the balance.
          I am the fulcrum.


          • Kruger
            The Maker and The Unmaker
            • Jan 2014
            • 39


            I'm stumbling off drunk, getting myself lost
            I am so gone, so tell me the way home
            I listen to sad songs, singing about love
            And where it goes wrong
            ~ Ed Sheeran

            Brimstone hung in the air fed by the coals that flickered so hotly their heat pushed through his thick leather apron and burned the skin beneath. It wasn't unusual, except that he'd refused to begin lately. It was surprising how quickly the feeling could be forgotten, or perhaps it wasn't in that mind that never seemed to stop spinning out of control. Pain had chiseled him, made him this way. Too many questions and no one to talk to.

            The forge was dark, and darker still as his eyes closed. He could feel it though, the presence of every part of it. That hadn't gone away. Kruger stood breathing hand raised to the chain of the bellows. His fingers curled about the new metal, callused pads found every imperfection with the practiced touch of a man who had made many metal things. The hands always knew so much more about his work than his eyes ever could. The first whuff of the bellows sounded deep in the bed of coals and the heat rose instantly. The sound of the place was empty, a vicious mirror of himself. She came and went at will, leaving Kruger with no rhyme or reason to the visits. He felt it when she was gone, despite the fact her imitation walked his underground corridors. In some ways it would be easy to confuse them. He'd gone past that long ago, as much as Black looked like her, he could tell the difference at a glance now.

            He fell into a rhythm with the bellows, slowly stoking the fires hotter. The burning of his flesh increased, but it was nothing compared to the loneliness and hoping that it would be relieved for even a little while. It wasn't the void, he'd rid himself of that the only real memory he had of it was written in the pages of his journal. The ingot was buried in adamantine and wrapped in paper. It was time to begin again, to put every bit of his knowledge to the test. Within the walls he could hear the crystalline conduits begin to keen, an echo of what he was feeling inside. Their resonance cut through him like one of his swords.

            Power hung in the air for any that could actually feel it. His fingertips tingled with it, and still he hadn't opened his eyes. He didn't need to, in order to see every piece of the forge. The ingot was covered in a liquid clay, then he took the tongs and shoved the wrapped ingot deep into the flames. The wet paper didn't flame up right away, he needed it to remain long enough to allow the adamantine to bond with the mithril, it was far from ready to be removed and beaten. Now he listened to the elements of the forge. Echoes in the distance could be heard, the sound of a great pendulum swinging. This one ran no clock though, neither was it restricted to a single side to side swaying. The hinge at the top would swivel, the room was circular and the weight of that pendulum had the entire room to use for its motion. The shaft of the pendulum was broken into seven sections, more hinges connected the pieces, these could be made immobile though with a simple sleeve.

            Now that was the case, Kruger's tie to this forge was so close that he could alter that with a simple thought. Much of that was her as well. Neural links or something like that she called them. The bellows continued to move and breathe, the crystalline piping serving another of its uses as it directed air flow throughout the forge and the dome within which the platform stood some ninety meters above the floor. Kruger could feel black within the place, moving but not really a part of the place.

            Few knew of his affinity with the elements, the way air would whisper things to him, or fire would rage for more fuel. They couldn't hear the dense calm of the brine in the bath, or the stoic resignation of the ingots pulled from the earth. It was something he'd lived with for a long time, it had changed in that time as well. The more he bonded to his trade the less he could pick up those voices outside. Now they all stood by, waiting anxiously for every element to present itself.

            They seemed as eager as the smith to begin. Perhaps that was why he had such a maelstrom in his mind. To mute those voices when he had to. The keening seemed to fill the entire building, the sounds coming differently in every part. No place was like where he stood though, the dome seemed to fill with the sound waves. It pushed them ever upwards, a simple change in the air pressure would silence them. He wanted them though, the sound was a part of him, and it was the beginning of this song. Kruger pulled the ingot from the coals, it glowed so hotly that looking directly at it had his eyes aching. That didn't stop him from reaching for the hammer above him, or bringing the first blow down with the clearest of bell tones. Above him at the very top of the dome there was a shudder, a ripple that never touched the walls.

            Kruger added his voice then, a ballad deep and full of the longing he felt for the one who was missing. Below him on the floor Black stopped and stared upwards as the air itself emitted a tearing sound. A tunnel formed replacing the dome, or maybe it just obscured it from view. The smith wouldn't know that everything happening now was being sent to One. He knew that the way this quantum tunnel spiraled away was different than any other he had made to this point. This one was correct, it remained within his time, and its anchor points were the correct places. It seemed to constrict as it moved away from him, and then expand again at the event horizon.

            The hammer was his tool now though, bending and folding the two metals together time after time. Two folds became four, then eight... twelve sixteen, over and over the ingot would be returned to the fire. Hours passed countable by the smith's exhaustion and the river of sweat that poured from him. Sixteen would be enough, sixty four thousand layers could become a million with another few folds but the gain would be nothing. For the purpose of looks, stopping was better... and so he did.

            He couldn't remember all the words he'd sung, or what languages he'd done it in. What he knew was that he dropped to his knees when he was done. The wounds on him had been healed by One, painfully healed. He was still drained though sending pieces of himself into the work, pieces he would never be able to retrieve without unmaking what he'd made. He'd proved he had the ability once already, what would be the point. This ingot needed to know what it was to be alone when you didn't have to be. It had needed that to better merge the different metals. Two became one and would never know that loneliness again.

            When his knees hit the floor, he slumped forward, palms going flat. He registered Black's approach, he knew she was coming. He knew every time she had moved through beneath him. He also knew that she'd stood and watched when the barrier had torn open. Her fingers went beneath his arm and she hefted him easily, leading him away from the forge and down the winding staircase. "That one was different."
            The essence of light and dark rests on a fulcrum.
            Your actions determine where lays the balance.
            I am the fulcrum.


            • Kruger
              The Maker and The Unmaker
              • Jan 2014
              • 39


              Your kind is just the type that should use me
              But your mind won't seem to let you have
              The opportunity to abuse me, abuse me
              Your mind won't even let you feel
              ~ Writers: David Draiman, Steve Kmak, Mike Wengren, Dan Donegan, Performed by Disturbed

              Drunk, she'd never seen him that way, vulnerable yes, obsessed definitely, but never drunk. He was as far from a logical creature as any chaos god. That was his appeal, it was what made the original want him. Black had thought hard about what the smith, her smith, offered One. Any smith could have done the repairs that her physical body sometimes required. Any smith would have had the knowledge necessary, and there were many who were more stable in the memories that One had allowed Black to keep.

              She knew One had made an appearance that evening. That she had spent but a fraction of time with the smith. “Your encounter didn’t go well?” The words fell from her like a metronome ticking one by one out of her and just as emotional. That was just one of the things she had been denied by the original. Somehow her words still seemed to incense him. He turned glassy eyes on her that blazed with an intensity he’d only showed her when he was working on something that she knew was meant for dark purposes. He moved towards her in the darkness of the underground forge.

              Her red orbs could see him clearly though, she could see the new bruising about his face. There were new abrasions on his cheek above that branded wolf. “Don’t stand there and tell me you don’t know exactly how things went.” He stalked towards her and she could see the anger in his expression. His hands were swollen and cut. This was a condition he was in often, he’d come home from the fights this way.

              Win or lose, he was never angry. Usually he was exhausted physically and gave her instructions for what they would work on when he woke the next day. He’d find the bed that he hadn’t given up since the accident which had left him seriously injured. That had been weeks ago, before that he’d spent his nights other places and left her to herself. Except that it hadn’t been just her, Red had been there. She didn’t move as he came towards her in the gallery of the immense underground cathedral they’d constructed. “You’ve been fighting again.” It was a statement derived from her observations of his physical condition. “Was that before or after you tried to drown yourself in alcohol?” The words didn’t get the response she’d expected though. He truly seemed to pick the least logical paths sometimes.

              “After, if you really must know… I needed to feel something that matched my mood. I needed to hurt something as much as…” Black waited for him to continue, after the space of several heartbeats she could tell he had no intention of finishing. He was acting in a way she couldn’t comprehend. She remembered many fights that had occurred between the original and a host of others. Remembered what it was to feel blood flow at the push of claws through flesh.

              She remembered the acts but not the feelings involved. “You needed to hurt someone?” Black had no idea why she was continuing to ask questions of the smith. She could have simply walked away and left him to his mood. Something made her stay, an odd need to observe this side of him. The question drew a huff from Kruger, his battered fingers pushed through his hair, and his arms flexed like he was squeezing his own skull between his hands.

              “Don’t… You don’t get to judge me.” Those glassy eyes closed, and his fingers curled back into fists grabbing locks of his own hair. Black was caught between decisions. Had his words been a dismissal or did he want her to do more? The hesitation was an echo to the silence of the forge, and it would break the silence once more. He looked at her, his eyes the color of ripened wheat saw her, but his words said that he wasn’t really seeing her anymore. “You left me… again, dismissed me like I don’t matter!” There was heat in his words, he’d never shouted at her, at least not in anger.

              Black took a breath, and swallowed. He was acting erratic and every part of her was screaming that she should walk away or bad things would happen. His tone triggered an automatic response from her, the claws slid from her fingers. “Your recollection is flawed. I’ve not left the forge. I’ve not seen you since you left earlier tonight.” He moved faster than she’d ever witnessed before, the distance between them closed in the blink of an eye.

              She knew he was strong, had seen him hoist things and understood the physical exertion needed to move them. It was one thing to see it done on an object and another to have it done to you, especially with the swift brutality that came so unexpectedly from him. He had her against the base of the pedestal that housed the forge before she could react. His hand tangled in the front of the tunic she wore. The smith was looking directly into her eyes, a place that she knew many feared to gaze. He was too close, she could feel the heat of his body radiating against her. The stink of the liquor that he’d overindulged in pouring across the skin of her face.

              Black remembered being attacked before, her claws found the space at his ribs beneath the arm that held her in place. He smiled cruelly at her the moment the tips of her claws touched him. That small thing made her hesitate again, twice she had failed to act on her first instinct. Something about the smith had her doing the exact opposite of what she would have done without thought on anyone else. Thinking was the problem, she wanted to know, to see what he would do next. She wasn’t afraid, but she wanted to be.

              The smith’s next movement was even stranger as he adjusted his arm to give her better access to his lung and the heart beyond. He was the one trembling in something more than anger, yet it was definitely not fear. She had seen him afraid and knew what it smelled like on him. His eyes wavered between anger and something else she’d never seen in him before. He only gave her a moment to view it before his face moved forward. His hot breath slid down her neck and his lips moved. A harsh whisper slid intoxicatingly into her ear. “I’ll let you… kill me now, because it is better than being parted… Please.”

              Black’s claws pressed harder against the man, penetrating the cotton of his shirt. She’d been this close to killing him once, and he’d flinched at her touch. Now he seemed to be helping, she could feel him begin to press against her claws. The appendages were different than simple weapons, she knew the moment skin was fractured and blood tainted the tips of her claw. It was she who flinched then, her clawed hand drew away so fast she didn’t recall the movement.

              “You are favored of…” Black couldn’t finish the words, his mouth was on hers. His hand had come away from her chest leaving just the ghost of a feeling there. His fingers surrounded her wrists and pinned them to the wall. She could have broken free, shown him what real strength was just before ripping him to shreds, but he was still kissing her. The taste of him was heavy with alcohol and humanity. She’d been kissed before… no, not her but she remembered it, knew how it felt. She didn’t know though, or the memory was a pale reflection of the real thing.

              Black’s mind reached out for that link. She needed to verify that this was how it was meant to feel, to be powerful and yet helpless. She was aware of the changes in her body, the burning of hormonal desire to become physical. The link brought her more memories of things her body knew how to do without ever having needed to be shown. Black used his strength, her legs snapping round his waist and squeezing him closer to her.

              There was logic in her physical response to the man, but part of her was still rejecting it. She broke the grip of one of his hands, the claw rising and descending towards his head. He either misunderstood, or just no longer cared. His now empty hand was sliding along her hip and rising. The sensation had her claws disappearing, instead of plunging them deep into the smith, her fingers were in the hair at the back of his head and pulling him deeper into the kiss. Part of her was beginning to understand the pull of the man. He changed things, unmade them from what they once were and remade them into something else altogether.

              Perhaps the fact that he wasn’t dead yet made him more confident of his position, but Black’s other hand was now free, and his was beneath her clothing. The rough calluses of his palm scratching across her skin. Black grabbed the collar of his shirt in both hands. One claw came out and cut a long slice in the fabric down his spine. The claw disappeared, but her nails were raking their own paths along the skin of his back.

              Had she been able to feel, Black would have been disappointed that he broke that kiss. He was speaking again chasing away even the phantom of unreachable emotions in the clone. His voice wasn’t a whisper now, it was deep and still low, but the building that they’d erected caught the tones and sent echoes spinning across the walls. “I love you, One… and I know I can never really have you.”

              She struggled with a thought at his words. She wasn’t One. She wasn’t the original, but the original was her, and this was her smith.
              The essence of light and dark rests on a fulcrum.
              Your actions determine where lays the balance.
              I am the fulcrum.


              • Kruger
                The Maker and The Unmaker
                • Jan 2014
                • 39

                Stop and Stare

                Steady hands just take the wheel
                Every glance is killing me
                Time to make one last appeal
                For the life I lead

                Stop and stare
                I think I'm moving but I go no where
                Yeah, I know that everyone gets scared
                But I've become what I can't be,

                Oh, do you see what I see?
                ~ Writers: Ryan Tedder, Zach Filkins, Andrew Brown, Eddie Fisher, Tim Myers, Performed by One Republic

                Standing atop the platform, some ninety meters above the floor of the cathedral he'd carved into the depths of Raedelin's marketplace, the smith breathed deeply. Above him the bellows opened wide and pumped air into the burning embers of the forge. His heartbeat, slow and steady and somewhere in the darkness of that cathedral a pendulum swung in time to pulsing organ. Sweat ran across his face sending rivulets to his jaw, droplets splashed to the anvil before him. The sound echoed through the dome, and behind him he could hear the briny bath begin to stir.

                Despite the heat, he smiled. He was alone and still he smiled, blindly. The smith's hands were atop the anvil, the only altar he knew. His fingers traced every carved inch of the iron man with the anvil atop his back. Beneath him the wooden base was carved into the female form, lovers reaching for one another. His mind was one with the forge, but his awareness delved far deeper. The notebook was open to the final pages calculations so intricate that he almost couldn't follow them lay splayed across its lily face. Almost he couldn't, but clarity came to him, clarity and a sense of the planet itself. There was a reason he'd dug so deeply. Kruger closed his amber eyes but he could hear the stirrings of the clone in the darkness. Hear them, and ignore them, he could see with the eyes of everything the burning stars in the night sky, in every night sky on every continent.

                Above him in the dome, frescoes of the constellations were painted with the greatest care. They were wrong though, subtly wrong, he could see it now. The elements within the paint began to shift, coming as alive as the forge was proving to be. The frescoes moved like liquid, like the blood through his veins striving to match the images in his head, stirring slowly into place. The pendulum ticked away, the heart of the forge, the heart of the forge master. None would notice what was occurring with every swing of that pendulum.

                The movement above was so minute that it would take time lapsed photography to map it. It would need to lapse over centuries... millennia! He'd said he needed to tune the forge, that had been accurate, the acoustics needed to be set in those oscillating crystal conduits, but that had only been the beginning. The smith needed to regulate the airflow through those conduits, and alter the temperature of the air that flowed. He needed to attune it to both time and space, only then would he find a way to complete his desire. Once it may not have been possible to think on such a scale, things changed. Kruger changed daily and with the same slow subtleness as the painted skies above him. Breathe, and the bellows breathed with him. He'd keep telling them that the forge lived, not that it thrived because its master did also. Not that he kept pulling pieces of the first forge to him. Not what his plan was once that forge was complete.

                Maker... Unmaker... he’d been named not creator. The difference was subtle perhaps, but he knew it. A creator calls into being from nothing. The Maker made from that which already existed, he unmade what was brought from the skill of the creator and remade it into something else. That was his skill, it had always been there for him to learn and choose if he wanted it. Learning was all he'd wanted since he began his apprenticeship. Knowing was the one thing that kept him going. Perhaps that was sad, a statement to the fact that he couldn't do the things other men could. He'd failed at everything he'd begun except this. The smith could feel every step of the clone as she ascended the stairs to the platform. It was as though she walked along his very skin. "She will come for me."

                Black's words vibrated the air that was Kruger causing the forge master’s eyes to open. "Yes, she has said she will. I will miss your constant attention, but you will return to her and the memories will be hers... will be ours. You do not lose me, not really."

                "I am... uncertain how I..." He'd never known her to be that before, something in the way she said it told him the word that would follow and why she had stopped.

                That word was the reason she was coming. That reason because a clone not meant to be whole had begun to feel. That she had begun to feel for One's smith. "Do you fear, or is it a memory of what fear is supposed to be?"

                Black shifted in the dimness, she didn’t answer immediately because the clone wasn’t sure. So many times now she’d malfunctioned and given into the hints of emotions. What else could it be but a malfunction? It didn’t matter that she knew it was proximity to the smith. Understanding the cause did not stop the degradation. There was a strange tickle in her cheek like walking through a spider’s web. She lifted her hand to the spot to wipe away the spun silk only to find that her fingers were wet. Black looked at her hand, the liquid was clear, but a taste of her fingers and she was inundated with the flavor of saline.

                “Please, something is wrong with me.” Black wiped at eyes that were now leaking uncontrollably. Kruger looked at her and there was a tug at his heart. One had been that way last he saw her though the cause wasn’t fear. The forge master pulled himself out of his link, it didn’t matter now, the frescoes would keep moving forever, or until someone learned to stop it.

                “Come here Black, come and see what I have to show you.” His voice changed, it was softer and comforting. Black moved, she really had no other choice. Kruger pulled her into an embrace that had her eyes on his shoulder, her tears mingling with his sweat. It was the perfection of the forge. “See the anvil behind me, the altar to my craft?”

                Black’s eyes lifted enough to look on the kneeling smith and the anvil he held even as he reached for the woman that made up the base. She nodded against his shoulder. “I see it… K… smith.” Kruger, she wanted to say his name. Why couldn’t she get it out?

                “That is a place to make strength and sorrow. Courage and fear. Do you remember the last thing I made… or the thing before that? Do you remember a thousand things I have made on the altar’s surface?” Kruger’s voice was still soft, still soothing in her ear.

                She wanted to give in, close her eyes and just rest there. She couldn’t though, compelled to answer his question. “They are all remembered. Shall I categorize them for you?” She wanted to help him, would do whatever it took, that was her reason for being.

                “There is no need, all of them were weapons, all of them went into hands and all of them will be used to destroy a life, or more than one. Sorrow is the end of my work, but the beginning is strength. For the dead, one will rise. For the one who rises cheers, for the one who falls tears. Strength in sweat, I have already anointed the altar. From you shall come the tears to the fallen, for you know their pain in the waking world. Can you hear their voices Black? Do they all ask the same question? Why me?”
                As he spoke those last words, two tears fell from her nose to splash atop the anvil. Their edges mingled with the sweat from Kruger’s brow.

                The brine in the bath began to boil. The forge masters lips parted in a final whisper that sounded like waves crashing on the beach. “So mote it be.”

                Black was close to the forge, she was still being held by Kruger, but her skin suddenly pebbled with a growing sense of dread. She felt the claws punch through her back, and even as her heart was pulled free, she knew One had come at last. “Why me?”

                The essence of light and dark rests on a fulcrum.
                Your actions determine where lays the balance.
                I am the fulcrum.