⭗ REDIRECTIONS X⭗
⭗ THE VALLEY OF THE LIFT CRYSTALS ⭗
“I had heard of this place, but I never once believed that it was real,” Past-Tense said.
Scarred Hand took off his hat and scratched at his scalp, marveling at the perfect, glowing crystalline spires jutting from the hard earth. To plunder the whole place would bring them into such a fortune that they could live like princes in mansions of porcelain on the most temperate shore of the sea, but plunder was not their reason for coming here. Answers, always answers. That is what drove them on.
Pulling in a deep, rattling breath, Past-Tense reached out to steady her massive steely body against a basalt outcrop. Near her, the polybody pilgrim argued amongst himself about things of a deeply philosophical nature. Only the Blue Oracle was silent. Her mind was full of dreams, and soon she would sing them all into existence. The lift crystals were the key. The lift crystals were the means, the foci through which reality would be sung into being, once again.
Sometimes in quiet roadside bars or in the murmurs of machine monks, you will hear tales of The Valley of the Lift Crystals. Some say it is hidden at the end of a canyon created by a single hasty slash from a star-giant’s sword, or that a single drop of blood fell from a beast made of constellations and seeded the valley with vibrant crystal shards imbued with the souls of falling stars yearning to return to the sky. Some say that you must follow the setting sun through a dozen crumbling turquoise doorways before the location of the valley will be revealed to you, and still others say that the valley can be found only after you have already been there in your dreams. Wherever it is, and whatever ordeals you must go through to find the valley, one thing is certain. Lift crystals are valuable.
When an electrical current is applied to them, lift crystals begin to glow and reverse their gravitational mass. Clever magicians and artificiers jealously guard the arcane mathematics that are needed to modulate the current needed to provoke precise amounts of rise and thrust from lift crystals of specific shapes and sizes, but with this knowledge (and a comprehensive collection of lift crystals) talented sorcerers of past ages have made flying mechanical genies, hover steeds and gun-studded sky fortresses. Other uses for lift crystals are said to exist, including fearsome acceleration rifles, perpetual motion machines, elixirs of eternal youth and armor that can slow and turn aside both blades and bullets. Such things are rare wonders, and are often only found in the personal armories of kings, if they are found at all.
It is also said that overuse of lift crystals was partly responsible for the fall of the Azure Age. Not only can they be crafted into the aforementioned tools to give their users godlike powers, they are also powerful tools when used as focal points by the more magically inclined individual. It is said that lift crystals grow perpendicular to our plane of existence and appear much larger to those able to see into six or eight physical dimensions than they appear to those able to see in only three or four dimensions. Like light flowing through a prism, magical energies flowing through a shard of lift crystal can have powerful, reality-warping effects. Following is a short list of the kinds of feats accessible to the learned magician possessing the right knowledge, the right energy and the right shape of lift-crystal.
Slideways (Power: 1, Target: Self, Instant)
Holding a shard of lift-crystal against your forehead with your eyes closed, you begin to see the sixth and eight dimensional folds between things. Moving carefully, you may traverse them, stepping through a single solid object (wall, person, vehicle, etc.) like they aren’t even there. Certainly they are there, they’re just not in your way when you move between them and what they cannot see.
Resonance Vision (Power: 1, Target: Line of Sight, Instant)
Holding a shard of lift crystal balanced in the palm of your hand and peering through the point, you can channel your magical energy to see all of the layers within an object, a person or a thing. By adjusting your sight through the facets, you can see deeper or shallower layers. Use this ability to peer beyond solid stone walls, investigate the internal health (or modifications) of a body (living or dead) or to determine the construction of certain traps or benign mechanisms.
Crumbledrum (Power: 2, Target: 30 meter cone, Instant)
Mounting a lift crystal in a staff or tripod of resonant metal and singing the right notes to it will create waves of sound capable of cracking stone or shattering glass. Overcharging this ability can bring down walls or vibrate enemies until they collapse into goo. Afterward, subtract the Power from your level and roll under it. If you fail, the lift-crystal itself shatters with the resonance.
Flexion (Power: 1, Target: Self, Instant)
Firmly gripping a shard of lift crystal and shoving it forward with magic and intent can cause an incoming spell to rebound back to its caster instead of hitting its intended target. Holding the crystal at a slight angle from straight vertical can deflect the spell away from both the target and the caster to another target somewhere else, but mastering this takes practice.
Acquiro (Power: 1, Target: Line of Sight, Instant)
A quick eye and a quick burst of magic power through the point of a lift crystal can instantly call a targeted item to your hand, making the object fly through the air to get to you. This only works with relatively light items, such as wands, laser swords, small chests and stones, but it works on anything small enough that is within line of sight. It can also work with some non-tangible things, like electrical current or fireballs, but this can be very dangerous to the wielder.
Blend (Power: *, Target: Line of Sight, Instant)
The facets of a lift crystal can be used to transmit one’s own essence or magical power to another who is in need of it. Any amount of power can be sent to augment a spell that is being cast by another.
Decipher (Power: 1, Target: Line of Sight, Instant)
Peering sideways through a lift-crystal while holding both ends, then infusing oneself with magical energies, will allow one to turn the shard of crystal into a sort of decryption device, allowing the user to “read” data encoded in ancient crystal storage devices. It is said that a slight variance of the technique (performed with the eyes closed) can be used to write data to such mediums.
There are, of course, as many other ways to channel magical power through lift crystal shards as there are fast stars in the sky. Almost all of them were forgotten shortly after the fall of the Azure Age, but surely someone out there still remembers one or two of them, while others might be discovered accidentally through use of such treasures.
⭗ OUR PARTY (SO FAR) ⭗
Coda-1, Coda-2 and Coda-3, a bluelander polybody pilgrim, allegedly.