⭗ REDIRECTIONS VII ⭗
⭗ THE SPIRES OF THE BROKEN SONG ⭗
“This was once called the Song-Bastion of Dawn Light,” the Blue Oracle said.
Past-Tense nodded and pulled in a deep, rusty breath, for she remembered those days as well. Charred-Hand took off his hat and scratched at the bald spot on the top of his leathery scalp, trying to remember some of the other, older names of the place. Before the three of them, the remains of the huge blue spires stood up before the sky, already vibrating with the coming daybreak.
“She sings still, but the song is different," The Blue Oracle spoke again. "She is like a harpsichord missing half her keys, played by a mad flutist with minimal classical training.”
“The Bluelanders call this place The Spires Of The Broken Song,” Charred-Hand offered, looking up to the Blue Oracle. “They say that in dreams, you can hear the true song, the song that the spires sang when this place was first grown from the corpse of a god.”
“In dreams, you can hear many things,” the Blue Oracle said. “In dreams, you can have conversations about impossible things with caricatures of people you once knew, or who you have only heard of in legends.”
“I think I can hear it,” Past-Tense said, leaning in. “The song– I think I can hear the whole thing and– It’s beautiful! Word above, it’s beautiful!”
Out beyond the far eastern edge of the Colorwash, in a place where the porcelain-faced and bodiless hunting constructs of the Olivine Syndicate stalk the glassy, chittering dunes for crystal-shelled piccolo beetles (a delicacy that fetches a high price with the syndicate) there is an ancient formation of lift-crystal spires so old that no one can say with any certainty how long they have been there. Many thieves have tried to chisel off shards of the crystals for their own ends, and a few have even succeeded. Most who try have been sliced to ribbons by the unpredictably-moving lines of artificial gravity that dance and shear around the spires, making them sing their haunting melody like bells struck by a thumb. Cross-sections of neatly-diced bones from every manner of creature mark the boundary of the gravity shear waves, and a competent thief with a keen eye and a keen ear may be able to decipher a safe way through them, using the tones of the song and the puffs of dust from the passing gravity lines to decipher a pattern that will (maybe) avoid certain death by gravitational bisection. The lift-crystals themselves are ordinary (as far as lift-crystals go) and are charged by the specific frequencies of light that come with the dawn. Shards of them would fetch the equivalent price of lift-crystals obtained from anywhere else in the world.
Unfortunately, each time the crystal spires are chipped or disturbed in any way, the notes of the song change and the lines of shearing gravity change with them, taking on new and different patterns while they strain toward balance. These unpredictably changing rhythms can make getting back out even more dangerous than getting in.
Sometimes, pilgrims from the Blue Lands set up camp just beyond the bone threshold. When they do, they greet the dawn every day for eight day cycles by harmonizing along with the spires, but they never try to get inside. These pilgrims are often well-off, and have much to trade, including juicy rumors about the surrounding lands, the caravan paths back to the Blue Lands, and also legends of a prophesy of a time when a god will step through the lines of gravity shear and tune the crystal spires back to a perfect song. They say that this god will be blue, like them, but this may just be a form of racial bias.