The Mechanist’s Friend

He was old, and tired, and ready to quit.
It had been a long life, and a good one – why, at the high point of his career, he had created automata for Kings! And, at the low point, for demons.

But it had been a long life, and no one was interested in little automata now. They had all moved on, found new trivial things to tickle their fancies.

And so he tinkered at his workbench, for lack of anything else to do. And before he knew it, his hands found those tools again. The metal fell into place again, and a tiny creature sprang to life.

He chuckled, as he always did. Tiny newborn thing of gears and wires. Ah, but they always had such searching eyes. Looking for knowledge. Looking to please their masters.

It turned sparkling teal eyes upon him, obediently waiting his command.

Well, he thought, it would be cruel to shuffle off when this little one needs a master…

And so he began again to father another little life.

Mad Science for All

You too can proclaim your love for all things Mad and all things Science. Well, not REALLY mad. Just… unconventional. You know. Not, you know, anything dangerously unstable – scientists can handle these things. They’re rational, once you understand the principles. Nothing to be institutionalized over. Come on, knowledge is power! I think it’s fairly rational to want a Death Ray. Almost everyone wants one, deep down. But you know, not everyone can handle it. Not everyone has the knowledge – the genius – to get by with performing the impossible. You know it really IS a miracle of science – it should be called MIRACLE science, not mad science! Yes. It’s not mad at all. How DARE you call it mad. What were you thinking? Is it any wonder fools like you will be the first to go? I’ll SHOW YOU ALL…

I say, in the immortal words of myself, or perhaps Doc Gestalt, quoting my own Etsy description.

Look! Stickers! Magnets! Pins!  All for sale here. Or if they are gone, joy of joys, let me know so I can put more up for sale!

Not-so-Wishful Thinking

You know, yes you, YOU know that sometimes you wish for a fantasy life. To live in a beautiful, magical, wonderful, did I mention magical, pseudo-medieval-world, and attend a comfy mage school somewhere, and then go save the world – from behind a brave warrior with more hit points.
But you know what? You’re wrong.
You’re incredibly wrong, and I know. I have four words for you: leaves, rocks, straw, rags and soap. Four of which we have too much of, and one of which was have exactly the wrong sort of. I say ‘we’ because I speak from the perspective of someone living the dream you wish you were living, and by ink and quill, it’s not what you think it is.
Leaves: Leaves have far too many uses around here. Especially in the form of personal hygiene. You need a band-aide? You get a leaf. You need insect repellent? You get a leaf. You need air freshener? You get a leaf, or, for variety, a burning leaf. You need toilet paper? You get a leaf. You won’t like the leaf, either. It’s not a quilted northern leaf, let me tell you.
Rocks: Rocks are everywhere. Especially if you are on a campaign to save the world. Rocks mysteriously appear under you, whenever you attempt to plough a field, sit down and/or sleep. It’s rather amazing. Magi have studied it for years and are baffled at the spontaneous creation of matter which only seems to happen with rocks, enemy soldiers, and/or occasionally poison ivy.
Straw: Straw is not comfortable. Straw smells, itches, moulds, rots, sticks up pointy-bits in all the worst places you can imagine, and is generally the bedding material of choice, because it is better than rocks, see above.
Rags: Once a month, you, if you happen to be of the female persuasion, get a very personal and intimate relationship with rags. Let us not discuss this any further.
Soap: Anything rendered from lard and ashes is just plain nasty when rubbed on the body and in the hair.

You sit there thinking you wish you were me, but really, you wish you were me only about 1% of the time – the “potentially beating up the foule goblins at a safe distance by using magic” portion of the time. And that 1% of the time is certainly fun, but the 99% of the time spent wandering around without internet connectivity, smelling of muck and horse and sweat and really bad soap, with no coffee and rarely tea, and even the small beer is beyond consumption because no one ever thought of the idea of a water filter… Well, you can romanticize it and say I don’t know any better but, dear reader, I do know better, for I am staring through the mists of time rolling my eyes at you. I know I have been shafted by having a medieval romantic life that is foot-sore and travel-weary and does not include nearly enough cosseted-up-in-the-corner-of-a-warm-and-not-very-smelly-cozy-homely-secluded-and-did-I-mention-warm-again-hut-reading-a-spellbook time.

So think twice about what you yearn for, and next time you invent a wonderful fantasy world, be sure to dream up some really brilliant soap.

Lola’s Necklace

A haunting violin strain wavered through the Artisan’s mind as she woke up. A fragment of… what had she been dreaming? And then she realized – it was Lola’s birthday. She had no doubt where Glimmerville would take her today.

Quickly she dressed and fed Brassica, then packed some currant scones, clotted cream, and raspberry leaf tea to take with her. And… but what would she give Lola, other than tea? A necklace, of course, but what would suit a psion? Ruby, perhaps, for the fire… but some green should cool and balance it. And then she had the perfect idea: Ruby in Zoisite, also known as Anyolite. The soft green matrix and black streaks complemented the dark purple of the ruby.. it was a swirling storm of creativity, and perfect for Lola. Now, it wasn’t often that she took serious stock in the lore and meaning of stones, but this was a beautiful exception as she recalled Lola loved the Zoisite’s vivid green. Quickly she paired the green stone with glass, and silver word charms for the ‘dream’ and the ‘journey’ of life.

Ruby in Zoisite for Lola

Then hid a little ‘passion’ in there – in case Lola wanted to bring out her wilder side.

Silver Words

She took the tea, scones, and necklace, and placed them in a basket – then almost lost her footing as Brassica nudged her knees. “Aw, Brassy, you can’t come today – what would they think of a dragon in the middle of a modern city?” The waist-high yellow dragon huffed and lashed his tail, then turned orange in annoyance. The Artisan gave his ears a scritch and considered whether anyone would really notice a dragon. She knew few people paid attention to what they didn’t expect to see… come to think of it, that explained Glimmerville itself. It could only be found if you were the right person to find it.

Well why not she mused. It’ll make life interesting…! “Ok Brassica, you can come too. This should be something,” she said, picturing Lola’s lavish mansion, with a young and curious dragon tearing around in it. Well they would likely take tea outside. She hoped.

The Artisan unlocked her door, feeling the familiar shiver and twist as space rippled and rearranged itself around Glimmerville. She stepped out, with Brassica at her heels, and locked the door behind her. The door appeared, this time, in the side of a small outbuilding on the Corelli property – her worries about having a dragon downtown were without grounds.

Lola was in the garden, on her way to greet them. It didn’t surprise the Artisan that she was expected – Lola was a woman, violinist, and psionicist of great talent and sensitivity. She surely had something to do with the dream of violin music.

“Hello!” Lola called, and waved in greeting. She was wearing a loose calf-length black dress with a long strand of knotted pearls, and it fit her so well it made the Artisan wish she had chosen her own dress more carefully.

“Hello, Lola! Happy Birthday! I was hoping we could have some tea,” the Artisan said, giving Lola an embrace, and the basket.

“I already have a spot ready!” Lola smiled.

“Outside, I hope.” She chuckled, and Brassica ran exhuberant circles around them both.

“Hello Brassy!” Lola scritched the dragon’s ears. “Come on this way – the kettle’s about to boil.”

They had a lovely tea – even Brassica, for Lola had the cook set some bones aside especially for him. They talked of this and that, catching up. Lola loved the necklace and put it on, even if it didn’t go with the pearls. Before long the sun was setting. “You have a strange journey ahead.” Lola commented. The Artisan laughed “Tell me something I don’t know!”

“Ok,” said Lola, pausing to concentrate, hands at her temples.

The Artisan clutched her tea cup. “I didn’t really me…”

“You are getting an apprentice.” Lola said, with a strange authority. She opened her eyes.

“What? I’m what?!”

The Artisan at Glimmerville

“Oh it’s perfect! Thank you so much!” The sea nymph cried, holding the necklace up to the light so that she could see the play of blues and greens against the silver. “How can I ever repay you?”

“Just send me things that you think I’d like – stones, shells, coins, scraps, anything. Mail them to the Artisan at Glimmerville. They’ll arrive.” She chuckled, pulling a starfish out of her hair, and leading the sea nymph to Glimmerville’s front shop door. The Artisan closed and locked the door, her job here complete, and with a sigh felt the water draining, the stone floor turning back to wood, her own gills vanishing. Glimmerville became whatever it was needed, when the doors were open. But once locked, it was her own shop again, and as familiar as her own daydreams.

The Artisan warmed her (now dry) robes by the fire for a moment, glad at its return, then went down the hallway, to the library on the left. Strange she thought Is Glimmerville budding a new room? That hallway seemed longer than usual. What are you up to, old girl? She plucked a book from a shelf (with the passing, wistful thought that another library would be nice) and went back to her bedroom, happily remembering the joy on the nymph’s face, and wondering where they would end up next.

In the morning she would unlock the door, onto sea or space, cave or sky, and see where they wound up next. They always ended up where they were needed, though sometimes with a few tweaks to fit the environment. She took it as a matter of course, and was more interested in what charmed necklace a dragon would want than what size the shop had to become to accomodate it in the front door.

She couldn’t wait for tomorrow.  {More to come.}
{Feel free to email theartisan [!at] – and check out my Etsy shop, which has been – and will continue to be – undergoing renovation. Nearly each item has a story to tell, you see… if you ask the Artisan.}