Part 5 of 5 in The Stone Uncast

"…nettirwnu emaceb ,nettirwsaw tahw dnA.” –The Book of Terminus 151:07

 

Usually, all was quiet in the city of Ark. But not today.

As the morning began, the Twenty-Four rose from their slumbers, and made their respective ways through the Forum, and into the Triskelion. Each of them were responsible for one aspect of the World of Erf, and of agreeing on how to run it. They were not the original Titans to make the world, though. Those had become much greater than anyone could have imagined, and had passed to controlling Love, Fate, and the Mechanics that lay at the heart of Erf.

Originally, the current Titans were mere members of the Forum, where all of the other titans watched how things unfolded, bet on outcomes, and generally discussed all aspects of the Erf. Each of the current Titans had at one time been merely titans, wandering in the Forum outside. But, as previous Titans stepped down, others had the opportunity to fill in the ranks, if they felt they were up for it. Each generation imagined that they would be the ones to usher Erf to peace and harmony.

So far, none had succeeded. They were already on the twelfth Erf. And that one had just been packed up. Hence why they were meeting. Not only did they need to discuss what to do, but they also had to hear the opinions of the Players, before they were put back in the box.

But before that, was the time to discuss. But more often it was the time to argue.

“We did things wrong again?” asked the Reshaper. “Can we do it right? Ever?”

“I’m sorry Dave, but I’m afraid we can’t do that,” replied the Jester.

“Really 0beron?” The Reshaper sounded both amused and annoyed. “Must we go through that every time I ask something?”

“I don’t know about you,” interjected the Matchmaker, “But I find it humorous every time.”

“C’mon, John,” said the Reanimator. “Stop bugging him.”

“You find it just as funny as I do, Revanchist,” replied the Matchmaker.

“Okay, okay, witty banter time is over.” The Banker was all business.

“Fine, fine, BLAND… We’ll listen to you.” The hubbub quieted down.

“So, Myriad,” began the Reshaper. “Did you see anything truly unusual during the last turns of the Game?”

“You mean besides all of the stuff that broke because we were too busy arguing about what was going wrong?” asked the Tailor, cutting in.

“Be quiet Twoy. Anyways,” the Observer turned back to the Reshaper, “All that I saw was that, as things deteriorated, everyone fought. Once someone spread that the First Hex would survive, everyone fought to be the sole possessor of it. Never mind that their cities were slowly being sacked after they left. Do we know who started that? It’s a variable that we should account for next time. tigerus?”

“It was the Googolites who discovered it,” replied the Detective, “but there were a few sides where mass panic set in, and they invented stories about how the sky was falling. The Moppets were rather belligerent in this regard…”

“This shouldn’t have happened,” said the Mathamancer. “Calculations placed the chance of hysteria at less than 1 in a million!”

“Really, Brim?” asked the Converter. “You should know that the less likely something is to happen, and the greater narrative significance it holds, the MORE likely it is to happen.”

“Where did YOU get so good at Fate and Causality, Grand Diplo?” asked the Mathamancer.

“Sihoba over there,” he said, pointing at the grinning Artist. “I do more around here than just being a pretty face…”

[Yeah, well, your good looks notwithstanding…] projected the Connector, [if the Magic Kingdom was properly maintained, the Thinkamancers, Hat Magicians, and portals in general would still be around to facilitate communications.]

“Yeah, Binary has a point,” adds the Hatmaker. “It was Azgrut’s job to maintain the Magic Kingdom.”

“Okay there, WhirdCheese…” began the Magician. “You try maintaining the most concentrated hub of magic in the entire Erf! I don’t break Rules… That’s Shadow’s job!”

“Huh?””What?””Yes?” Three voices come from different areas of the room.

“Sorry. I always forget I can’t use abbreviations for you guys. I meant Dark, not Lord or Sir. Man, this gets annoying!”

As the Gambler and the Doctor grumble about people mixing all of them up, the Duplicator speaks up.

“Pardon me, but were you referring to myself, or Shadow? Just to be clear.”

“Arrgh! I was referring to Dark Shadow! Not Dark Arbiter! Can we just agree that he is the one you need to talk to when you need to break rules?”

“Yes, I believe that we can,” piped up the Electrician.

“Now can you PLEASE get to your point? Some of us want to get to actual work, and not wait…”

“Fine, Redux. I was just about to. My point is, if he wasn’t off gallivanting in several different parts of the world, I might have been able to hold together the Portals, because they needed rigging of the Rules to work!” The Magician is almost yelling at this point.

“Hey!” retorted the Ringmaster. “I wasn’t the only one ‘gallivanting’. And I think that trying to keep track of everything that your disciples are doing is hardly ‘gallivanting’…”

“Okay,” sighed the Oracle. “I Predict that this has gone on long enough, and that you will all shut up now.” At the silence that met his pronouncement, he continued. “Thank you. Now, matters we need to address. Marbitchow?”

“Thank you, Werebiscuit,” replied the Architect. “Now, what I need to know is if we are finally ready to begin redesigning the Erf and leaving all of the other parameters the same, or if I need to merely recreate the old Erf, and we change a different parameter.”

“I think,” the Reshaper mused, “that the original design of the Erf is fine. Hexes were made for a reason, and it would be folly to mess with them. For then, It would no longer be Erf.”

“I agree, Dave.” The Engineer keeps tinkering with a system in front of him. “We need to isolate the cause of the problem. And the problem is more likely to be in introduced variables, than the natural part of the system.”

“Kaed, I respectfully disagree,” countered the Gardener. “The Erf is almost a unit of its own, and could it be that the way it is composed has caused the failure of this world. Perhaps the terrain is too unbalanced. Giving one side too much of an advantage over another.”

“There once was a world called Erf. And we don’t know what it’s worth. The Titans are quite busy, for we’re throw into a tizzy, as we plan its rebirth.” The Poet finished his reading, then looked around, as if expecting applause.

“Fine, fine…” the Gardener sighed. “The esteemed Chris Goodwin, master poet, thank you, thank you, etcetera, etcetera… Done?”

“I will choose to not take that as sarcasm, Watermonkey…” rebuked the Poet.

“Okay, that’s enough!” the Reshaper snapped. “We’re not getting anywhere here. Let’s bring in the Players, see what they think. Remember the rule, though. ONE question each. I don’t want a repeat of that Tremendous bloke…”

 

********************

 

The day dragged on. Mostly, they had to answer the same questions over and over again, as the units weren’t wising up to the fact that they shouldn’t waste their one question on small stuff.

Who are you? “The Titans.” Next.

Why were we on the Erf? “For Entertainment, and the perfection of the titanic self.” Next.

Why me? “You were in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Next.

What happened? “The Erf failed.” Next.

What went wrong. “…” That one was new.

“What is your name, unit?” asked the Reshaper.

“Elysium. Elysium Quæstor,” he said.

“We don’t know. That is what we are trying to figure out. Perhaps you can give us more insight. At least your question was more intelligent than the forty thousand we’ve done so far. Although, we haven’t gotten to the Erflia, Nolokbos, Argent, or Erfstria sectors yet. Those might help. Anyways,” the Reshaper continues, “what do you think went wrong?”

“It was innovation.” He said this with certainty. “Let loose upon the world, with no guiding force. I remember when I had read about Gobwin Knob in the Library. It was truly successful, because it had an innovator who knew when not to release the knowledge into the world. That was the trap. We learned too much, too fast. And that is what we must choose between. Stagnation, or self-destruction.”

“Thank you.” The Reshaper looked thoughtful for a moment. “Hmmm… Perhaps there is another way. Let’s set the parameters the same, but this time we’ll try a more direct influence. Once we finish interviewing the Players, let’s prepare to guide this world to a Golden Age! Earthshaper! Architect! You’ll come with me! Let’s start building a new world, from the ground up!”

The Reshaper clapped his hands. And the stone that was cast, did not merely return to the hand of the one who threw it. It had never been cast at all…

 

Thanks to all those who have made Erfworld Possible, whether the Creators, the members of the Communiy, and especially all of the Gamemasters past and present! This Finale is dedicated to you!

 

(NOTE: User received 150 Shmuckers for this completed story. - Rob)

Part 5 of 5 in The Stone Uncast

Comments

    • Lerianis

      Too much knowledge too fast? Um.... no. That is always the excuse that someone brings up when something fails, that they just "Did not take enough time to suss out the ramification of what they were doing!"

      At the basis of this is the bottom line blunt fact: Erfworld is broken. It just does not make sense from second one, to have 'sides' in constant competition with each other in the first place that involves them HAVING to take each other lives to survive. As an optional, okay, sometimes it needs to be done (just like in the real world) but making it mandatory? That is asking for trouble.