The Return of Talking Time

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Old 08-11-2015, 12:36 PM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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Default When examined through the planetary lens, the thread displays a Hadean association.

Hadean Lands
Overdue Interactive Fiction by Andrew Plotkin
Copyright (c) 2014 by Andrew Plotkin
Release 4 / Serial number 141017 / Inform 7 build 6G60 (I6/v6.33)
Identification number: //47EFEF42-E2F2-4675-ADA2-5A5942A0870A//
Interpreter version 0.5.2 / iOS / VM 3.1.2 / Library serial number 080126
Standard Rules version 2/090402 by Graham Nelson



"And the moon is of lightly moving, and the moon is planet of way;
and for that skill it giveth us will of kind for to move lightly and for to go divers ways,
and to seek strange things and other diversities of the world;
for the moon environeth the earth more hastily than any other planet."

-- The Travels of Sir John Mandeville



*** You have awakened ***


Hey kids!

Let's play Hadean Lands!

Hadean Lands is a text adventure (or it's interactive fiction if you prefer or are a pedant) funded by Kickstarter. I'm not usually the sort to play these games, but despite Loki's protestations he was a very vocal supporter of it. Plus, the setting is a spaceship powered by alchemy, and you really couldn't have a setting more appealing to me without also overthrowing capitalism.

[Have you played interactive fiction before?]
>>yes
[Great! If you need a refresher, flip to the Help tab. On with the show.]

You smell copal incense, machine oil, rosemary, alcohol, and blood. Creaking, bending steel beams... no, that's not an odor. Why did you think the bulkheads were crumpling in on you? What would that even smell like?

You're pretty sure it's not your own blood, anyway.

The secondary alchemy lab is your duty station this shift; where you were, before -- before now. Before you woke up on the floor. Smelling copal, oil, rosemary, and -- well, alcohol is right. You were scrubbing the workbench. Enjoying your shift, swabbie?

Not any more, Sarge.


The lamps shouldn't be flickering like that. And His Majesty's Marcher The Unanswerable Retort really, really shouldn't be this quiet.

Hadean Lands
Overdue Interactive Fiction by Andrew Plotkin
Copyright (c) 2014 by Andrew Plotkin
Release 4 / Serial number 141017 / Inform 7 build 6G60 (I6/v6.33)


I'll be denoting all ingame text with that color. My own sparkling wit will be in boring old ink black, as usual. Any commands I enter are prefaced with a greater-than, but you probably could've inferred that.

Secondary Alchemy Lab
The lab is unsettlingly dim, but familiar enough: rough wooden walls, the broad stone surface of the workbench. The lab door is to the north; it's closed.

To the east is the lab's supply closet. Except... the entire east side of the room is filled with clear crystal. That's not so familiar. That's downright strange.

You notice a heap of alchemical supplies piled on a table. Next to the table, an iron panel is set in the floor.


Okay, not exactly West of House, but it'll do. Let's start with the clear anomaly in the room, pun intended as I typed it.

>x crystal
It's not crystal. It's more as if the air has cracked, right across the room, leaving a plane of cleavage which is visible only in refraction.

>touch air
The fracture feels like slick, hard air.


Okay, so half the room is off limits and we have no idea why. Cool. Let's check the supplies then.

>x supplies
Lying on the flimsy table are a sheet of instructions, a sprig of rosemary, two impets of essential oil (peppermint and ginger), a pair of tarnished calipers, and a brass pin.

>take all
sprig of rosemary: Taken.
impet of peppermint oil: Taken.
impet of ginger oil: Taken.
tarnished calipers: Taken.
brass pin: Taken.

>x instructions
You pick up the sheet, and find Sergeant Brooks' familiar scrawl. "Ensign Forsyth: When you're finished scrubbing, get these calipers freshened up. You should be able to handle the ritual. See me afterwards."

The other side is printed in the familiar smudgy blackletter of Navy receipts. "FOR THE CLEANSING OF BRASS TARNISH: Prepare an atmosphere of fiery principles. Place a brass token within the bound, and seal it. Speak a word of essential nature, so that the properties of brass may be evoked. Compound the atmosphere with a resinous note. Then intone the Lesser Phlogistical Saturation to complete the token's investment. Place token directly on tarnished item."

The syllables of the Saturation formula are spelled out below. And scrawled beneath that: "Resinous note -- wave the rosemary, swabbie."

You memorize the instructions, including the Lesser Phlogistical Saturation. You also pick up the sheet. Just in case.

[To list what you've memorized, type "RECALL" or "REMEMBER".]


This being an alchemical marcher, we're going to need to perform some alchemy of our own. Thankfully, Hadean Lands has a lot of accessibility for a text adventure, and Ensign Forsyth's memory is exceptional. To wit:

>recall
You have learned one ritual: (* marks rituals you have not yet completed)
basic tarnish cleansing inscription (*)

After months of diligent practice, you have memorized several common alchemical formulae:
the Lesser Phlogistical Saturation
an elementary word of binding
a word of essential nature
a simple sealing word
an unsealing mantra

You have picked up assorted facts:
the work assignment
the resinous note
a lecture on aromas


We can use recall to learn about specific elements, too. And if you put in a single word, the game will attempt to fit in the noun that most readily applies to the situation, so "recall simple" would tell us about the simple sealing word.

>x calipers
These are standard Naval chart calipers; you see the astrographers using them every time you walk past the tower. But the brass is badly tarnished, particularly around the hinge.


So that's two things we have to worry about right now: getting the tarnish off of these things, and figuring out why the air is fractured. Let's see...

>l
Secondary Alchemy Lab
The lab is unsettlingly dim, but familiar enough: rough wooden walls, the broad stone surface of the workbench. The lab door is to the north; it's closed.

Some kind of fracture blocks the east side of the room from you.

Next to a side table, an iron panel is set in the floor.

>x workbench
The workbench is a broad slab of bluestone, chipped and scarred. A bound is incised in its surface -- the circular arc that contains and constrains works of alchemy.

The workbench bound is empty.

You notice a worn steel bolt lying under the workbench.

>take bolt
You reach down and pluck the bolt from the floor.


Okay cool, the workbench is probably where to do the ritual. Plus hey, free bolt.

>x bound
The workbench is a broad slab of bluestone, chipped and scarred. A bound is incised in its surface.

The workbench bound is empty.

>x pin
It's a short, straight bit of brass, no longer than your thumb-joint.

>put pin in bound
You put the brass pin into the workbench bound.


Pin goes in the bound... but we need a fiery atmosphere. How do we do that? Think, Forsyth, think!

>recall lecture
You dimly recall taking notes on the uses of aroma in alchemy. Perfumes influence a ritual by adding elemental principles of the atmosphere. You might open an impet of ginger essence for a fiery ritual, or mint essence for a cooling effect. Citronelle is strengthening, seaweed has... something to do with breath... it was a tedious lecture.

>open ginger
You pop open the impet, and the ginger aroma rolls out, stinging your nose.


That'll do. Okay, let's get this underway then.

>speak sealing
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the simple sealing word.

The arc begins to glow orange around the brass pin.

>speak essential
You intone the word of essential nature. The metallic nature of the brass pin rises to the surface.

>x rosemary
It's a long twig of pale green rosemary needles.

>wave rosemary
You wave the sprig, and inhale its fresh, resinous aroma. The fiery reek of ginger seems to shift to a cleaner, more gentle scent.

>speak saturation
You begin the Lesser Phlogistical Saturation. The sounds try to bend and smear on your lips, but you are on your guard, and you hold clearly to the formula.

The energy slowly converges. The orange light flares, drawing together the blended aromas and the words that you speak.

When the light fades, a symbol shines on the surface of the brass pin.

>x pin
It's a short, straight bit of brass, no longer than your thumb-joint. A tiny symbol shines from one side: the alchemical sign for basic saturation.


Nice. Rituals like these will be central to basically all the puzzles in Hadean Lands, in some way or another. A few things to note is that most rituals won't actually consume the materials involved (we still have the pin, the rosemary, and the ginger), but some do, so you need to be careful with remembering what you've used. Thankfully, the "things" command lets you keep track of what you know, and you can always "go to doodad".

Now all that remains to do...

>take pin
You pick up the brass pin, careful of its inscribed basic saturation symbol.

>put pin on calipers
You carefully lay the basic saturation symbol against the calipers. With a loud crackle, the symbol discharges. Sparks dance over the calipers; the tarnished brass flakes and vibrates. Within moments, the calipers are gleaming brightly. The alchemical energies fade, leaving a perfectly polished instrument.

Take that, Sarge, you think, with some smugness.

>x calipers
These are standard Naval chart calipers; you see the astrographers using them every time you walk past the tower. The brass gleams.


Okay cool. So we got our errand done, let's go report in to the Sarge! Assuming they're still around. It kinda sounds like things aren't going well aboard the ship.

Next Time: Pinecone
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  #2  
Old 08-11-2015, 12:43 PM
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Mogri Mogri is online now
Yes, let's feast!
 
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The core instruction set of IF has been almost unchanged since day one, with the notable exception of UNDO becoming fairly standard, but Inform 7 has made implementing your own accessibility commands (such as "go to X" or this game's "remember") very easy, and there's no good reason that more games don't.

I'm looking forward to this. I've heard good things. (About Kalir, I mean, but also about Hadean Lands.)
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Old 08-11-2015, 12:50 PM
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aturtledoesbite aturtledoesbite is offline
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I tried playing this! I was too dumb for it, though.

Good luck!
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Old 08-11-2015, 01:27 PM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
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Here's the official site for the game, by the way. Very inexpensive, if you want to play along and/or use this LP as a guide, since I have beaten this game before.
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Old 08-11-2015, 01:32 PM
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Falselogic Falselogic is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalir View Post
Here's the official site for the game, by the way. Very inexpensive, if you want to play along and/or use this LP as a guide, since I have beaten this game before.
Doesnt the game have a map and a bunch of non IF stuff in it too?
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Old 08-11-2015, 01:42 PM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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I got it on iOS, where it absolutely does have a map. I'll be posting it in bits and pieces with updates, so as to avoid showing too much stuff that isn't yet relevant.
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:50 AM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
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Secondary Alchemy Lab
The lab is unsettlingly dim, but familiar enough: rough wooden walls, the broad stone surface of the workbench. The lab door is to the north; it's closed.

Some kind of fracture blocks the east side of the room from you.

Next to a side table, an iron panel is set in the floor.


Not much point sticking around here anymore. Let's get moving.

>n
You pull the door open. Then you nearly fall down, so sharp is your disorientation. Only your grip on the door convinces you that you are still standing upright.

A Hadean land lies outside the lab door.

I'm sure this wasn't in the regs. The east-side corridor is missing. Or most of it is missing. A foot or so of ordinary tile floor is at your feet; but beyond that, the corridor is cut away as if by a knife. Beyond is a barren grey wasteland -- a Hadean land, deadly to any breathing life. Unweathered grey rocks and dead dust rest under bright, unwinking stars.


Oh, it's one of those days. Don't you just hate it when you're doing menial task for your CO and the hallway gets replaced by the friggin' MOON? Brooks will chew our ear off if he learned we got stopped by something like this. And besides, it might not be completely lethal, right?

>n
You might be sucked through the door into vacuum. But wouldn't the lab's atmosphere be sucked out anyway...?

You could ponder that for hours, but your hand has more curiosity or less sense than your head. You reach out -- and your fingers brush another crystal-hard, slick surface. The Hadean land is blocked by a fracture, just like the supply closet.

>close door
You shut the door, and resist the temptation to lean against it in relief.


Okay fine. Let's try that panel, it might go into... not air ducts. That'd be entirely impractical and we all know it. Maybe a service tunnel or something.

>x panel
You've seen the iron panel before, of course. It's some kind of service hatch. But it's apparently been shut since forever and a quarter. It's faintly rusty around all its edges, and the steel bolts that hold it down are worse.

>open panel
You twist at the steel bolts, but they're rusty and they probably haven't turned since the Retort was built. The panel isn't moving anywhere.


Great.

So escaping the Crimson Room here is the first actual puzzle of the game. Those calipers we have are shiny but ultimately do nothing for us actually getting out of the room. But that wasn't all we got out of our experimentation. We got something even more valuable:

>recall saturation
The Lesser Phlogistical Saturation is a knot of breathy syllables. It has to do with reversing processes of tarnish and rust.

>x bolt
A single steel bolt, somewhat worn in the thread.


A boiling hot cup of KNOWLEDGE. If we can reverse tarnish by using a brass token, we should be able to reverse rust by using a steel or iron token, right?

>put bolt in bound
You put the steel bolt into the workbench bound.

>open ginger
The ginger impet is already open.

>speak sealing
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the simple sealing word.

The arc begins to glow orange around the steel bolt.

>speak essential
You intone the word of essential nature. The metallic nature of the steel bolt rises to the surface.

>wave rosemary
You wave the sprig, and inhale its fresh, resinous aroma. The fiery reek of ginger seems to shift to a cleaner, more gentle scent.

>speak saturation
You begin the Lesser Phlogistical Saturation. The sounds try to bend and smear on your lips, but you are on your guard, and you hold clearly to the formula.

The energy slowly converges. The orange light flares, drawing together the blended aromas and the words that you speak.

When the light fades, a symbol shines on the surface of the steel bolt.


Seems like it worked. Usually, if you're using an improper ingredient, the ritual will just fizzle out, but there are some instances where failure leads to considerably more amusing results. But sometimes, going off-recipe just a bit is all you need to work out a tough puzzle.

>put bolt on panel
You aren't holding the steel bolt.

>take bolt
You pick up the steel bolt, careful of its inscribed basic saturation symbol.

>put bolt on panel
You carefully lay the basic saturation symbol against the steel bolts. The symbol discharges with a loud, crackling buzz. Sparks fly across the surface of the iron panel, and the bolt-heads rattle as their rust sublimes away.

The display of alchemical energies slowly dies away, leaving the hatch and its bolts bright and clean.


Nice. Let's get out of here. Maybe the Sarge will give us some slack for fixing that hatch up.

>d
(first opening the iron panel)
You drop through the hatch into the crawlspace below.

Secondary Lab Crawlspace
You are in a low, dimly lit corridor that runs from east to west. A hatch by your (ducked) head opens to the laboratory above.

To the east, the crawlspace is interrupted by another fracture -- or perhaps the same one you saw in the lab. But this is different: you can see a figure caught behind the fracture. You peer closer in the gloom...

That's Lieutenant Anderes, apparently frozen mid-step. What's she doing down here? And why is she carrying an alchemical reagent jar?

A chymic flask rests nearby; it reeks of rubbing alcohol.


Huh. So the fracture, whatever it is, can entrap people. And doing so freezes them in time and space. Maybe we won't have to report to the Sarge after all.

>x anderes
Jana Anderes is a pinch-faced lieutenant in the Lumber Department -- or, as it's officially named, Stores and Supply. You've occasionally dealt with her when you're sent to fetch this or that from the marcher's storerooms.

Now she's sneaking around in the crawlways... or she would be, if she weren't frozen in a fracture. Escaping, like you, from the Retort's catastrophe? But her attitude is somehow furtive, rather than uncertain.

Anderes is carrying a reagent jar. You can't make out its label, however.

>x jar
Anderes is carrying an alchemist's jar. Not an ordinary flask, like the ones you use every day, but a full-size reagent jar from stores. Why...? Unfortunately, the way she's holding it, you can't see the label or the contents.


Little weird, but maybe she's just trying to return some reagents a swabbie (like us) borrowed and forgot to return. She's always been kind of like that librarian you were terrified of as a kid. No big deal, let's just do what we can.

>take
(the flask of rubbing alcohol)
Taken.

>w

Mech Lab Crawlspace
The crawlspace runs west and east from here. There's another closed hatch above you. It's even rustier than the last one.

To the south, a few steps lead down to a dark doorway.


So, west, up, and south are our options here. I don't wanna go do the whole ritual again right now, so at complete random I choose south.

>s
You step through the doorway, feeling blindly downward with your foot for the invisible floor...

Void
Something is wrong. Something is missing.

You are adrift, without referents. You never found the floor. You can't remember where it was supposed to be.

Something is drawing you in.


*** You awaken again ***


Secondary Alchemy Lab
The lab is unsettlingly dim, but familiar -- in fact, exactly as it was before: rough wooden walls, the broad stone surface of the workbench. The lab door is to the north; it's closed.

Some kind of fracture still blocks the east side of the room from you.

On a side table, you see a sheet of instructions, a sprig of rosemary, two impets of essential oil (peppermint and ginger), a pair of tarnished calipers, and a brass pin. Next to the table, an iron panel is set in the floor.

A worn steel bolt is lying half-hidden under the workbench.

...You fight off deja vu. Everything is back as it was when you first awakened in the lab. The hatch is rusted shut, the supplies on the table are untouched. What in the name of... what has just happened?


Well that happened.

Remember how I said sometimes rituals might consume supplies? The Void that we just went into is the game's way of letting us reset the world. From here on out, we can reset it at any time just by entering "reset", at which point almost everything in the game state reverts to how it was when we began the game. What DOESN'T revert, however, is the knowledge we've gained.

>take all
steel bolt: You reach down and pluck the bolt from the floor.
sprig of rosemary: Taken.
impet of peppermint oil: Taken.
impet of ginger oil: Taken.
tarnished calipers: Taken.
brass pin: Taken.

>d
(first opening the iron panel)
You conjure a basic saturation symbol onto the steel bolt.
You lay the steel bolt on the hatch.

You pull the hatch open.

You drop through the hatch into the crawlspace below.

Secondary Lab Crawlspace
You are in a low, dimly lit corridor that runs from east to west. A hatch by your (ducked) head opens to the laboratory above.

To the east, the crawlspace is interrupted by another fracture -- or perhaps the same one you saw in the lab. But this is different; you can see Lieutenant Anderes caught behind the fracture, holding a reagent jar.

A chymic flask rests nearby; it reeks of rubbing alcohol.


Also: once you have completed a puzzle or ritual once manually, you can instantly do it at any time (by, say, "perform basic tarnish"). If the game requires that of you to get through a certain door, it will autocomplete the puzzle, using your last used variant of the solution. So we said "we'd like to head back down to the crawlspace" and the game said "no problem boss, lemme just do that rust removal for you first".

THIS IS AWESOME

>take
(the flask of rubbing alcohol)
Taken.

>w

Mech Lab Crawlspace
The crawlspace runs west and east from here. There's another closed hatch above you. It's even rustier than the last one.

To the south, a few steps lead down to a dark doorway.

>perform rust
You make your way to the Secondary Alchemy Lab.
You conjure a basic saturation symbol onto the steel bolt.

(You are now in the Secondary Alchemy Lab.)


It'll also transport you to the nearest viable location once you do perform such a ritual. Right now, we only know about the ritual bound in the Secondary Alchemy Lab, but naturally we'll discover other bounds as we progress.

>d
You drop through the hatch into the crawlspace below.

Secondary Lab Crawlspace
You are in a low, dimly lit corridor that runs from east to west. A hatch by your (ducked) head opens to the laboratory above.

To the east, the crawlspace is interrupted by another fracture -- or perhaps the same one you saw in the lab. But this is different; you can see Lieutenant Anderes caught behind the fracture, holding a reagent jar.

>w

Mech Lab Crawlspace
The crawlspace runs west and east from here. There's another closed hatch above you. It's even rustier than the last one.

To the south, a few steps lead down to a dark doorway.

>touch bolt to hatch
You carefully lay the basic saturation symbol against the iron panel. The symbol discharges with a muted buzzing sound. Sparks fly from the bolts, and a bit of rust sifts down, but the charge doesn't seem to be sufficient this time. This hatch is going to require something stronger.


Wow, one puzzle and already our rituals are being obsoleted. Fine, let's go west, young Forsyth.

>w

Crawlspace Bend
The crawlway bends here, running from east to north. Another hatch is set into the floor; this one is already open.

A moldy sheet of paper is lying here. It looks like another alchemical recipe.

>take
(the moldy sheet)
"REDOUBLED TARNISH CLEANSING: Deeply corroded metal may not yield to the basic tarnish removal ritual. In such cases, one must locate a more potent resinous element. Rather than the common rosemary or lavender twig, try a branch or cone from an evergreen tree. It may be necessary to crush the element to release its full effect."

You memorize the instructions, and also pick up the sheet. Just in case.


That's more like it. But we don't have the evergreen necessary to kick it up a notch. Let's try heading down first.

>d
You climb down through the hatch.

Herbarium Nook
You are in the Retort's herb-house. (Odd to reach it from the sub-basement; you usually come here through the upper laboratory floor. But that's a marcher for you.) A short ladder leads up to the ceiling hatch through which you entered.

You seem to be trapped in the east corner of the greenhouse. The main space, with its trays of sun-lit herbs and vines, is blocked off by another fracture. Only a few bits of herbage remain within reach.

A shelf holds a small bin labelled "mustard seed". Next to the bin are a pinecone, a dried mushroom, and a sprig of honeysuckle.

You notice a few orange threads lying in a crack in the floor.


Yeah someone really needs to get on making all the rooms line up where they need to be. Also: maybe fixing the fractures? Those seem kind of serious. Anyway, pinecone, that'll do for the ritual. What else...

>take pinecone
Taken.

>x threads
These look like -- yes -- it's a small quantity of orange zafranum, an extraordinarily expensive spice. Whoever spilled this was very careless.

>take zafranum
You gather up the orange threads.


Waste not. Let's check the north of the crawlspace before we get the ritual done.

>u
You climb up the ladder and through the hatch.

Crawlspace Bend
The crawlway bends here, running from east to north. Another hatch is set into the floor; this one is already open.

>n

Chem Lab Crawlspace
The crawlspace ends here. The only way back is to the south. You're pretty sure that you're under the Chymic Lab now.

You see one last hatch in the ceiling. This one is not rusted in the slightest. In fact, it looks like someone recently oiled it. Unfortunately, whoever it was also affixed a heavy brass lock.

Another stray flask is sitting on the ground. This one is labelled "lubanja".

>take
(the flask of lubanja)
Taken.

>x lock
The brass lock is a common planetary combination affair. It's jammed through a hole drilled in the hatch coaming, though, and that can't possibly be Service standard. Somebody added this, and fairly recently, it appears.


Well that's unconventional. Like, I get being annoyed at people interrupting lectures, but that's maybe a little overkill. Anyway, we don't know the combination, so we're walled for now. Let's go try out that tweaked ritual.

I can use the map on my iOS app to navigate by touching a room, so that's why the command "go to dennis" might be missing a few times, if you care.

>
You make your way to the Secondary Alchemy Lab.

Secondary Alchemy Lab
The lab is unsettlingly dim, but familiar -- in fact, exactly as it was before: rough wooden walls, the broad stone surface of the workbench. The lab door is to the north; it's closed.

Some kind of fracture still blocks the east side of the room from you.

On a side table, you see a sheet of instructions. Next to the table, an iron panel stands open; you can see a crawlway below.

>smell
You smell the usual mixture of alchemical reagents -- mostly rosemary and copal -- over a reek of spilled alcohol. The undertone of blood has faded.


Right, the ginger impet isn't open. Let's fix that.

>open ginger
You pop open the impet, and the ginger aroma rolls out, stinging your nose.

>put bolt in bound
You put the steel bolt into the workbench bound.

>speak sealing
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the simple sealing word.

The arc begins to glow orange around the steel bolt.

>speak essential
You intone the word of essential nature. The metallic nature of the steel bolt rises to the surface.

>wave pinecone
You wave the pinecone, but it's not very aromatic.


Guess not. Well, sometimes you gotta break a few pinecones to derust a hatch.

>crush pinecone
The old pinecone crumbles into dusty flakes, which sift from your fingers. A blade-sharp, resinous aroma bursts into the air. The fiery reek of ginger goes clean and harsh with it.

>speak saturation
You begin the Lesser Phlogistical Saturation. It's harder this time -- more intense -- but you hold clearly to the formula.

The energy pulses and converges. The orange light goes blinding-bright, drawing together the blended aromas and the words that you speak.

When the light fades, a symbol shines on the surface of the steel bolt.

>take all
steel bolt: You pick up the steel bolt, careful of its inscribed redoubled saturation symbol.

>d
You drop through the hatch into the crawlspace below.

Secondary Lab Crawlspace
You are in a low, dimly lit corridor that runs from east to west. A hatch by your (ducked) head opens to the laboratory above.

To the east, the crawlspace is interrupted by another fracture -- or perhaps the same one you saw in the lab. But this is different; you can see Lieutenant Anderes caught behind the fracture, holding a reagent jar.

>w

Mech Lab Crawlspace
The crawlspace runs west and east from here. There's another closed hatch above you. It's even rustier than the last one.

To the south, a few steps lead down to a dark doorway.

>close ginger
You snap the ginger impet closed. Its aroma fades.

>touch bolt to hatch
You carefully lay the redoubled saturation symbol against the iron panel. The symbol discharges. Orange sparks crackle everywhere, nearly singeing your fingers. For a moment you think this inscription will fail as well -- but rust rains down, and the bolts slowly emerge from their corrosion. By the time the energy has cleared, the hatch is as good as new.


Take THAT, natural processes!

>u
(first opening the iron panel)

Mechanica Lab
This workshop features two of the more mundane devices of the alchemist's life: a hand-cranked wire-drawer, and the wire-splicer wheel.

The lab door is to the north, but it's crusted over with some horrible-looking mold. (What's happened here?) The crawlway hatch is open. You also see a small storeroom to the west.

An extremely corroded cabinet is fastened to the wall. It is closed.

To one side, some supplies are lying on a counter: two metal rods (platinum and nickel), an iron bead, and a lump of rock salt.

Something glitters on the floor. It looks like a circle of fine glass thread.


Wow, that is a lot of toys to play with. Er, I mean SERIOUS TOOLS OF MECHANICA THAT WE SHOULD NOT USE UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY TO NAVIGATE OR OTHERWISE RESOLVE CRISES.

...What toys do we play with first?



Here's a map, by the way, of what we've seen thus far.

Next Time: Java
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  #8  
Old 08-12-2015, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalir View Post
...What toys do we play with first?
All of them. At once.
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  #9  
Old 08-12-2015, 10:01 AM
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Un-corrode cabinet, open it, get all.
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  #10  
Old 08-12-2015, 10:26 AM
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Check the storeroom. Loot everything you can carry.
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  #11  
Old 08-13-2015, 12:31 PM
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>w
Materials Store
You are in a small storage area. The Mechanica Lab is back to the east.

To one side stands a heavy table, upon which is another ritual bound. This one is adjustable; it is currently empty.

There's another cabinet here. This one is clean, but locked.

An untidy storage bin contains three stone chips (obsidian, granite, and sandstone), a moon-metal rod, a broad quartz prism, a long quartz prism, and a fluorspar crystal.

A crumpled recipe sheet is lying by the ritual bound.

Someone has dropped a standard glass chime, the sort used in musical rituals. It's marked as being in the key of H.


So, we want to get that corroded cabinet open, but first let's loot everything in the Materials Store. As it just so happens, there is no inventory limit, BUT since everything resets when you Void, there isn't much reason to hoard everything, especially as some components may be destroyed upon entering certain dangerous areas. (By that same token, there's little reason not to take everything that's not nailed down, either.) We'll start with the sheet, because always start with the sheet.

>take sheet
(the crumpled sheet)
"UNIVERSAL TARNISH CLEANSING: The basic tarnish rituals employ the law of similarity; a steel token removes rust from steel. To prepare a token that will work on any corroded metal, one must prepare a catalytic environment, rather than a fiery one. Place a token of brass or steel in the bound and begin with a simple sealing. Recite the categorical imperative; pour a drop of Java spirit upon the token; conclude with the Lesser Phlogistical Saturation." The text of the categorical imperative is jotted below.

On the reverse side, Sergeant Brooks has written: "Practice this ritual, using the adjustable bound. Platinum wire will create a catalytic environment -- if other elements (aromas) do not contaminate the area! Tools are available in the lab." This must be a lesson for the advanced students.

You memorize the instructions, including the categorical imperative. You also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.

>x bound
The table bears a ritual bound, whose edge is an incised groove. The groove is currently empty.

This is an adjustable bound, a handy device. By placing a metal wire in the groove, one can set up a ritual of any desired elemental association.

The adjustable bound is empty.


So while we're normally using aromas to control the element of a ritual, we can also use metallic wire if we're using this fancy-schmancy adjustable bound. Cool! Also we can probably de-corrode the hell out of that cabinet, so let's do that... after more looting.

>x chime
It's a regulation Naval ritual chime -- glass, H. (Technically H is the same as B natural, but there's some symbolic distinction that the Navy picked up from Austrian Uhraufziehzauberer lore, so you're stuck with it.)

>take all
glass H chime: Taken.
chip of obsidian: Taken.
chip of granite: Taken.
chip of sandstone: Taken.
moon-metal rod: Taken.
broad quartz prism: Taken.
long quartz prism: Taken.
fluorspar crystal: Taken.

>e

Mechanica Lab
This workshop features two of the more mundane devices of the alchemist's life: a hand-cranked wire-drawer, and the wire-splicer wheel.

The lab door is to the north, but it's crusted over with some horrible-looking mold. The crawlway hatch is open. You also see a small storeroom to the west.

An extremely corroded cabinet is fastened to the wall. It is closed.

To one side, some supplies are lying on a counter: two metal rods (platinum and nickel), an iron bead, and a lump of rock salt.

Something glitters on the floor. It looks like a circle of fine glass thread.

>x cabinet
The cabinet looks strangely dingy; the metal surface is pitted, and the hinges are a swollen mass of corrosion. Very strange. The cabinet was fine yesterday, and you'd have bet that it was rust-proof to begin with. Half the marcher's fittings are made from this alloy.


Yeah I wouldn't even know where to start without the universal cleansing formula. Shouldn't be a problem for now, but first: looting.

>x thread
Which do you mean, the glass loop, the steel bolt, or the pinch of zafranum?

>loop
A circular thread of clear glass; it's about an inch across. This sort of glass loop can be used as the basis for various optickal viewing devices.

>take all
glass loop: Taken.
platinum rod: Taken.
nickel rod: Taken.
iron bead: Taken.
lump of rock salt: Taken.

>x platinum
A small rod of heavy, silvery platinum metal.


So, let's try putting this in the bound...

>w
Materials Store
You are in a small storage area. The Mechanica Lab is back to the east.

To one side stands a heavy table, upon which is another ritual bound. This one is adjustable; it is currently empty.

There's another cabinet here. This one is clean, but locked.

>put platinum in groove
The groove in the table is too narrow to accept anything except wire.


Oh right, duh.

>e
Mechanica Lab
This workshop features two of the more mundane devices of the alchemist's life: a hand-cranked wire-drawer, and the wire-splicer wheel.

The lab door is to the north, but it's crusted over with some horrible-looking mold. The crawlway hatch is open. You also see a small storeroom to the west.

An extremely corroded cabinet is fastened to the wall. It is closed.

>x drawer
Not a drawer full of wire, but a wire-drawer. It's a simple mechanical contrivance for turning metal rods into wire. You drop your rod into the groove, and then start turning the crank -- or more accurately, leaning all your weight on the crank. With sufficient effort, the metal is forced through a set of rollers and dies, and reduced to wire.

>put platinum in drawer
You slide the platinum rod into the groove, ready to be drawn into the device.

>turn crank
You begin hauling on the crank, and the platinum rod is slowly drawn into the device. Soon wire begins spooling out onto the counter.

After several minutes of sweat, sore hands, and metallic creaking noises, the rod is entirely consumed. The platinum wire falls free, into a loose coil.

>take
(the length of platinum wire)
Taken.


Well, nobody said trying to fix everything in a ship like this would be effortless. Plus, hey, it's good exercise!

>w
Materials Store
You are in a small storage area. The Mechanica Lab is back to the east.

To one side stands a heavy table, upon which is another ritual bound. This one is adjustable; it is currently empty.

There's another cabinet here. This one is clean, but locked.

>put platinum in groove
You carefully press the length of platinum wire into the groove. It forms a complete circuit around the arc.

>smell
You smell nothing unusual.


So let's see... we need java, a token of brass or steel, and the catalytic environment we now have. Do we have java, though?

>x java
Lubanja, or Java spirit, is an essence distilled from the resin of certain Indonesian trees. It is an excellent solvent of substances which resist water.


Okay cool, we do. Let's get this underway then.

>put pin in bound
You put the brass pin into the adjustable bound.

>speak sealing
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the simple sealing word.

The arc begins to glow green around the brass pin.

>speak categorical
You intone the categorical imperative. The metallic nature of the brass pin extends smoothly and clearly into a general class.

>put java on pin
You carefully drip lubanja onto the brass pin; a cleansing solvent quality adheres to the metal.

>speak saturation
You begin the Lesser Phlogistical Saturation. The sounds fight fiercely, but you master them.

The energy pulses and converges. The green light goes blinding-bright, drawing together the blended aromas and the words that you speak.

When the light fades, a symbol shines on the surface of the brass pin.

>take
What do you want to take?

>pin
You pick up the brass pin, careful of its inscribed universal saturation symbol.


We are now the UNDISPUTED MASTERS OF REMOVING METALLIC CORROSION.

>e
Mechanica Lab
This workshop features two of the more mundane devices of the alchemist's life: a hand-cranked wire-drawer, and the wire-splicer wheel.

The lab door is to the north, but it's crusted over with some horrible-looking mold. The crawlway hatch is open. You also see a small storeroom to the west.

An extremely corroded cabinet is fastened to the wall. It is closed.

>touch pin to cabinet
You carefully lay the universal saturation symbol against the cabinet. The symbol discharges; the cabinet vibrates. Corrosion falls away in a dusty shower, leaving the cabinet shiny-clean -- or as shiny as it's ever been, anyhow.

>open cabinet
You open the cabinet, revealing a torn sheet and a rust-stained sheet.

>take all
torn sheet: "I've sealed off the chymic lab access so that nobody stumbles into anything. If you need in: Mars, Luna, Jupiter. --JA". You don't recognize the handwriting.

You memorize the information, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.
rust-stained sheet: You pick up the sheet. It's a potion receipt. "A BANE for MUSHROOMS, LICHEN, and OTHER FUNGI: Prepare your chymic retort with mustard seed and a sample of fungus, in a saline bath. Seal; turn on burner, and heat to a gentle simmer. Invoke the Binding of Antipathy, thus attuning the mustard's toxic qualities to your sample. Decant." The binding is spelled out below.

You memorize the instructions, including the Binding of Antipathy. You also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.


Okay, so that's another door we can bust down now. And we have a lead on the other door here...

>x door
A lumpy, greenish-grey swath is crusted down the wall and across the door. It looks like some kind of mold. You have no idea what could have caused such a growth in a well-maintained marcher... but this room doesn't look so well-maintained as it did yesterday.

>n
(first opening the pine Mechanica door)
The encrustations of mold prevent the door from opening.


Okay, all we have to do is make us some fungicide and we're out of here and into the lab halls. Most of what we need is down in the Herbarium, but we don't have a chymic retort. So to the Chymic Lab we go!

>d
Mech Lab Crawlspace
The crawlspace runs west and east from here. There's another open hatch above you.

To the south, a few steps lead down to a dark doorway.

>w
Crawlspace Bend
The crawlway bends here, running from east to north. Another hatch is set into the floor; this one is already open.

>n
Chem Lab Crawlspace
The crawlspace ends here. The only way back is to the south. You're pretty sure that you're under the Chymic Lab now.

You see one last hatch in the ceiling. This one is not rusted in the slightest. In fact, it looks like someone recently oiled it. Unfortunately, whoever it was also affixed a heavy brass lock.

>turn dial to mars
You set the lock to Mars.

>turn dial to luna
You set the lock to Luna.

>turn dial to jupiter
You set the lock to Jupiter.

The lock snaps open.

>u
(first opening the iron panel)
Chymic Lab
This wide room is dominated by a huge glass retort. You've practiced many chymical rituals in this apparatus. Hanging above the retort is an instructional sign.

The lab door to the east is closed. The only other exit is the hatch in the floor, which is open.

A supply rack holds five chymic flasks (sand, vinegar, muriatic acid, mineral oil, and saline), neatly lined up.

Two papers, a folded sheet and a wrinkled sheet, are lying here.

You can also see a brass coin and an impet of citronelle oil here.


That is a lot of bottles of stuff! We're gonna be a true potions pro now! But first, instruction.

>take sheets
wrinkled sheet: This appears to be an instructor's notes for a lecture. "Lab demonstration #5: Calcinate of copper. Place muriatic acid and quickcopper (orichalcum) in the retort. Heat to dissolve, and continue heating until the green salt crystallizes. Note: product is unstable! Flush retort directly after demonstration; do not extract calcinate."

You memorize the information, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.
folded sheet: This paper appears to be a student's notes, from some advanced class. It spells out two formulae: a word of entension, which delays or lengthens a chymical reaction, and a word of culmination, which resolves the same.

You memorize the information, including the two formulae. You also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.


Well that is all flagrantly useless to us for now. I don't even know if the marcher has orichalcum in stock, and getting it for the sake of some educational exercise would be wasteful at the very least, and reason for Brooks to send us to Barosy maintenance duty at the worst.

>x sign
The sign reads: "Remember! Every chymical ritual begins in the retort, and each begins with the Hermetic Sealing!" This sovereign formula is spelled out below, with instructive accent marks.

You've survived many tedious lectures in this room by staring blankly at this sign. It hangs right over where the rector likes to stand, and its quirks of calligraphy are always more interesting than his somnolent drone.

Just to be sure, though, you memorize the Hermetic sealing word again.


This, on the other hand, is much more useful to us. We should have all we need to make us some fungicide!

>take all
brass coin: Taken.
impet of citronelle oil: Taken.
flask of sand: Taken.
flask of vinegar: Taken.
flask of muriatic acid: Taken.
flask of mineral oil: Taken.
flask of saline: Taken.


One last thing, let's see if this door to the lab halls works.

>e
You pull the door open.

This door is no better than the last. You look out over a Thalassan land: thick grey waves heaving beneath a lowering brown sky. Fortunately, another fracture protects you from its no-doubt toxic airs.

>close door
You shut the door on the Thalassan world.


Figures.

>
You make your way to the Herbarium Nook.

Herbarium Nook
You are in the Retort's herb-house. (Odd to reach it from the sub-basement; you usually come here through the upper laboratory floor. But that's a marcher for you.) A short ladder leads up to the ceiling hatch through which you entered.

You seem to be trapped in the east corner of the greenhouse. The main space, with its trays of sun-lit herbs and vines, is blocked off by another fracture. Only a few bits of herbage remain within reach.

A shelf holds a small bin labelled "mustard seed". Next to the bin are a dried mushroom and a sprig of honeysuckle.

>recall fungicide
"A BANE for MUSHROOMS, LICHEN, and OTHER FUNGI: Prepare your chymic retort with mustard seed and a sample of fungus, in a saline bath. Seal; turn on burner, and heat to a gentle simmer. Invoke the Binding of Antipathy, thus attuning the mustard's toxic qualities to your sample. Decant."

>take mushroom, seed
dried mushroom: Taken.
supply of mustard seed: You take a pinch of mustard seed from the bin.


We'll leave the honeysuckle, it really ties the room together.

>
You make your way to the Chymic Lab.

Chymic Lab
This wide room is dominated by a huge glass retort. You've practiced many chymical rituals in this apparatus. Hanging above the retort is an instructional sign.

The lab door to the east is closed. The only other exit is the hatch in the floor, which is open.

>x mushroom
A shrivelly dry brown mushroom. You have no idea what species -- one dried mushroom looks a lot like another.

>x seed
You've found some mustard seeds.

>x saline
Saline is a dilute salt solution, often used as a base for potions.

>put saline, seed, mushroom in retort
flask of saline: You pour a measure of saline into the retort.
pinch of mustard seed: Done.
dried mushroom: Done.


JUST DUMP ALL YOUR JUNK IN THE MAGIC CAULDRON THING WHATEVER.

>x retort
The retort is a glass bulb, two feet across. Its equator is etched with an encircling ritual bound. Suspended within is a reservoir for chymic reagents, and a mesh basket for solid components. The retort has a slot in the top for adding these reagents, a tap for extracting products, and a dump valve for discarding ruined experiments. The base also contains a gas burner, although it is not currently lit.

Lying in the retort are a dried mushroom and a pinch of mustard seed, suspended in a quantity of saline.


And now I have in my head the mental image of yelling at a chemistry student in exactly that vein. If I'm really lucky, now you do too!

>speak hermetic
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the Hermetic Sealing.

The retort's equator begins to glow pearl-grey around the dried mushroom, the pinch of mustard seed, and the reservoir of saline.

>turn on burner
You twist the knob. The gas burner hisses, and then bursts into flame.

The gas flame heats the saline.

>wait
Time passes.

The gas flame heats the saline.

>wait
Time passes.

The saline bubbles over the flame.

>speak antipathy
You begin invoking the Binding of Antipathy, forcing out the bitter phrases. Gradually the mustard seeds dissolve, and the saline solution acquires a lavender tint. Purple fumes begin to fill the retort.

When you finish choking out the formula, the liquid is deep purple in hue. You find an empty vial in the clutter and tap the fungicide from the retort. Phew! It smells awful. You snap the vial shut.

As an afterthought, you shut off the gas flame. You also pull the retort's dump lever -- the mushroom falls out into your hand. It's damp, but none the worse for wear.


We should be able to get more mustard seeds later, and with the mushroom intact, we can potentially make as much fungicide as we need. One dose ought to do it for the door, though.

>
You make your way to the Mechanica Lab.

Mechanica Lab
This workshop features two of the more mundane devices of the alchemist's life: a hand-cranked wire-drawer, and the wire-splicer wheel.

The lab door is to the north, but it's crusted over with some horrible-looking mold. The crawlway hatch is open. You also see a small storeroom to the west.

A clean cabinet is fastened to the wall. It is open, but empty.

>x fungicide
This is a purple liquid, which appears to be fuming slightly in its bottle. It should be instant death to mold, lichen, and fungus.

>put fungicide on door
You splash the fungicide onto the door. The mold bubbles and shrivels away, leaving the wood clean -- well, only a bit stained. The hinges seem to be clear now, anyway.


FREE AT LAST! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

>n
(first opening the pine Mechanica door)

Lab Hall Southwest
This is the southwest corner of the laboratory access hallway. It's done up in rough wallpaper, faintly scruffy and very familiar -- these halls are the center of your student life. The hall runs north and east from here.

To the south, the door to the Mechanica Lab is open. The Chymic Lab door is to the west; it's closed. The lab stairwell opens to the northeast, but a fracture prevents entry.

A sheet of paper lies discarded in the hall.

A swabbie out of the lab is like a fish out of the sea.

Thanks, Sarge, I'll remember that.


So at this point, we're more or less out of the tutorial area, and puzzles begin in earnest. Our map is also going to cover a lot more area and give us plenty of choices for exploration, and I'll post it in like two seconds. In the interim: sheet!

>take all
discarded sheet: Somebody has dropped yet another alchemical recipe. Oh, this is useful -- you've used an oculus before, but never learned to create one.

"TO CREATE A RESONANT OCULUS (an exceptional tool for observing unseen influences): Prepare an environment with lunar influences. This will require a bound with a gestalt shelf; place any lunar symbol on the shelf, but take care to exclude contaminating aromas. Then place a glass loop within the bound and begin with a simple sealing. Vocalize a resonant tone to tune the loop in the Celtic mode, followed by a syllable of counterbalance to fixate it."

You're not sure what tone and syllable the recipe is referring to. But the mention of the "gestalt shelf" jogs loose a memory of another lecture.

You memorize the instructions, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.

>recall gestalt
Aromas are one way to set the environmental influences for a ritual. For more precise control, you can use a gestalt shelf -- if the ritual bound has one. (Not all do.) By placing specific items on the shelf before the ritual begins, you can apply precise symbolic markers to the environment.


Okay, so once we get those formulas and a bound with a gestalt shelf, we can make us a fancy new oculus! But where to start?



Here's a map, by the way, of what we've seen thus far. Quite a few options here too! Do note that the frosted areas indicate fractures, so at present, the Primary Alchemy Lab, the main stairwell, and the Opticks storage closet are all off-limits. Where do we want to go first, though?

Next Time: Resonant Oculus
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  #12  
Old 08-14-2015, 06:31 AM
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Head for the library. Maybe you can look up the formulas you need there.
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Old 08-14-2015, 06:51 AM
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What happens if you try to enter the 2nd Alchemy Lab or the Chymic Lab from the outside? And is there anything off to the west?
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  #14  
Old 08-14-2015, 09:35 AM
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>l
Lab Hall Southwest
This is the southwest corner of the laboratory access hallway. It's done up in rough wallpaper, faintly scruffy and very familiar. The hall runs north and east from here.

To the south, the door to the Mechanica Lab is open. The Chymic Lab door is to the west; it's closed. The lab stairwell opens to the northeast, but a fracture prevents entry.

>open chymic
Which do you mean, the oak Chymic door, the flask of saline, the flask of mineral oil, the flask of muriatic acid, the flask of vinegar, the flask of sand, the flask of lubanja, or the flask of rubbing alcohol?

>door
The Chymic door won't open; it won't even rattle. (You recall the fracture that blocks it on the other side.)


Well that answers that. Thankfully, the horrific hellscapes only appear from the one side. Don't think too hard about how that works.

>n
Lab Hall Northwest
The laboratory hallway runs east and south from this junction. Another corridor runs west, towards the rest of the marcher.

To the north, the door to the Main Store is open.

How bizarre! Someone has scrawled graffiti on the wall here. The black marks are curiously twisted; they hint at meaning, but you cannot read them.

>x graffiti
Twisting, involuted strokes of black are scrawled across one wall. The graffito is irregular -- neither artistically symmetrical nor ink-splotch random. But if this is a script, it is utterly foreign to your understanding.

>touch graffiti
You can feel no texture of ink or paint on the black lines.


Curiouser and curiouser. But as it's not freezing people in time and space or damaging valuable equipment, we will consider it benign for now.

>w
Lab Wing Hallway
This hallway runs east and west. However, the fire door to the west is locked, sealing you off from the rest of the Retort. A smaller door to the north leads to the Primary Alchemy Lab; it is open, but blocked by another fracture. An archway to the south leads to the Library.

Another standard glass chime lies in the middle of the hall. This one is a glass G-flat.

>take
(the glass G-flat chime)
Taken.

>open fire door
It seems to be locked.


And that's why we can't go west of here. We're still confined to the lab halls, but we should be able to get out easily enough. First things first, though.

>s
Library
This library serves the laboratory wing. You haven't spent much time here -- the trainees have their own study room -- but you have often admired the rows of fat musty tomes on their elegantly-carved shelves. The archway is north.

Two papers, a neat sheet and an untidy sheet, lie unregarded on the floor.

You notice a rotor card sticking out from between two books.

>take sheets
untidy sheet: It's another alchemical recipe. "A POTION to RESIST ALL INJURY BY HEAT OR FIRE: This compound protects the drinker by balancing heat against cool -- these symbolized by opposing aromas. Place a measure of saline into a bound. Employ the simple sealing with no aroma present. Release a fiery aroma; invoke counterbalance; change the atmosphere to chill; invoke an elementary word of binding."

You recall, from an unusually digressive lecture, that one never uses the chymic retort for potions intended to be drunk.

You memorize the instructions, including the syllable of counterbalance. You also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.
neat sheet: The paper explains how to sing a resonant tone, which resonates with the structure of matter.

You memorize the information, including the resonant tone. You also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.


Good call. Those are both of the formulas we need in one spot, and also a free potion recipe! And it sounds like a pretty handy recipe to have, too.

>x card
This is a handy device for setting various environmental influences. It's a sort of cardboard envelope with a spinner inside and a little hole cut out. You can turn it so that one of five symbols shows through -- currently, a sketch of a snowy day.

>take
(the rotor card)
Taken.


And that should handle the lunar influence, once we find a proper bound. The card can be set to windy, snowy, sunny, moonlit, or rainbow. Naturally, moonlit will work for a lunar influence.

But enough about that, let's see if we can brush up on our studying. If everyone's stuck in time, we'll have ample opportunity to study up and impress Sarge.

>x books
You pick up a book and flip through it. The text is opaque; this must be a high-level theory text. Disappointed, you replace it on the shelf.

>x books
You look at another book. This one, too, is a haze of obscure alchemical theory.

>x books
You look at another book. Strange -- you have trouble even focussing on the lettering. You begin to wonder if there's something wrong with your eyesight.

>x books
You peer intently at another book. The words seem to swirl away in a haze of mathematical terminology. You give up and return the book to the shelf.


Or we can not do that, that's fine.

>n
Lab Wing Hallway
This hallway runs east and west. However, the fire door to the west is locked, sealing you off from the rest of the Retort. A smaller door to the north leads to the Primary Alchemy Lab; it is open, but blocked by another fracture. An archway to the south leads to the Library.

>e
Lab Hall Northwest
The laboratory hallway runs east and south from this junction. Another corridor runs west, towards the rest of the marcher.

To the north, the door to the Main Store is open.

Someone has scrawled graffiti on the wall here. The black marks are curiously twisted; they hint at meaning, but you cannot read them.

>e
Lab Hall Northeast
This is the northeast corner of the laboratory hallway, which runs south and west. The lab stairwell opens to the southwest, but a fracture prevents entry. The Tertiary Lab is to the east; its door is closed. The Pyrics Lab door to the north is open.

>open tertiary
It seems to be locked.


Dang. Heard they'd installed a new bound in there, too, but I guess they don't want just any swabbie wandering in to mess it up.

>n
Pyrics Lab
Waves of heat fill this room, radiating from a massive brick kiln and the roaring gas burners that fire it.

The lab door to the south is open. A storage area lies to the east.

Within the kiln, half-obscured by rippling heat, you can see a thick key and a porcelain paten.

A table at the other end of the room supports a glass vapor crock. The crock is open and empty.

You also see a jar of cedar splints on the table. Next to this are six splints of assorted woods: swamp pith, green linden, blackwood, winter-oak, maple, and elemental wood.


Toasty. Well, already we can see some things worth paying attention to.

>x key
This is a thick key of some cheap alloy. You recognize the shape -- it's one of the keys used to unlock fire doors in the marcher, after an all-sections drill. Why anybody would have tossed it into the kiln, you have no way to guess.

>x crock
A McGrew Crock is a piece of vapor-ware; it allows you to submerge items in a controlled atmosphere or aitheric medium. It's a wide glass cylinder, a foot wide and two feet high, with a gasketted lid.

The crock is empty; its lid is standing open.


Okay, so if we get that key, we can probably get into the fire door leading to the Nave, over west.

>e
Pyrics Store
This is a tangle of storage racks, mostly empty. The Pyrics Lab is to the west.

On one rack you notice a jar of camphrost lumps.

A silver coin and a lead rod lie on another rack.

A stack of firebrick in back serves as a crude ritual bound, complete with gestalt shelf.


And there's a shelf-bearing bound, nice. And if my guess is right...

>x coin
(the brass coin)
This is a cheap brass coin -- old, but not an antique. It looks like someone picked it up in a junk shop, which is probably exactly what happened. One face is stamped with a rayed sun, which makes it a handy symbolic token.

>x silver
It's a worn silver coin. One side is stamped with a crude grinning moon-face. The other seems to be a fish.


Yay, backup lunar symbol!

>take all
silver coin: Taken.
lead rod: Taken.

>turn card to moon
You turn the rotor until the moonlit night is visible.

>x bound
In one corner is a stack of firebrick. Somebody has scratched a crude but functional ritual bound into its top. An extra brick forms a gestalt shelf.

The brick bound is empty.

>put card on shelf
You put the rotor card on the gestalt shelf.

>put glass in bound
Which do you mean, the glass G-flat chime, the glass loop, or the glass H chime?

>loop
You put the glass loop into the brick bound.


Resonant oculus, here we come!

>speak simple
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the simple sealing word.

The arc begins to glow palely around the glass loop.

>smell
You can smell hot brick.

>speak resonant
You hum the resonant tone. The glass loop vibrates gently in response.

>speak counterbalance
You speak the syllable of counterbalance. Forces eddy around the room, and then settle.


Wait, it didn't work? What's the problem?

Well, first, we need to stop the ritual. That's what our unsealing mantra is for: it'll cancel any ritual in progress, though you lose expended materials either way.

>speak unsealing
You let the unsealing mantra run through your mind, clearing away the ritual energy. The bound goes dark.

>close ginger
The ginger impet is already closed.

>take all
glass loop: Taken.
rotor card: Taken.


Well, it's not our impets... let's test something.

>speak simple
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the simple sealing word.

The arc begins to glow orange.

>speak unsealing
You let the unsealing mantra run through your mind, clearing away the ritual energy. The bound goes dark.


Ah. This area must have too much background fiery influence. We can tell by the color. Welp, let's try the Opticks lab then.

>w
Pyrics Lab
Waves of heat fill this room, radiating from a massive brick kiln and the roaring gas burners that fire it.

The lab door to the south is open. A storage area lies to the east.

Within the kiln, half-obscured by rippling heat, you can see a thick key and a porcelain paten.

A table at the other end of the room supports a glass vapor crock. The crock is open and empty.

You also see a jar of cedar splints on the table. Next to this are six splints of assorted woods: swamp pith, green linden, blackwood, winter-oak, maple, and elemental wood.

>s
Lab Hall Northeast
This is the northeast corner of the laboratory hallway, which runs south and west. The lab stairwell opens to the southwest, but a fracture prevents entry. The Tertiary Lab is to the east; its door is closed. The Pyrics Lab door to the north is open.

>s
Lab Hall Southeast
The laboratory hallway runs north and west from this corner. The Secondary Lab, where you awoke, is to the south; its door is closed. The door to the Opticks Lab is closed to the east.

>open secondary
The Alchemy door won't open; it won't even rattle.

>e
(first opening the oak Opticks door)
Opticks Lab
This chamber is dedicated to experiments involving rays of light. A solid block of bluestone forms an immense workbench in the center of the room.

Whatever mirrors, prisms, and lenses are supposed to be arranged on the bench are there no longer. The equipment lies shattered on the floor -- all just an inextricable heap of broken glass, now.

The lab's door stands open to the west. A closet door to the east is closed. To the south is a storage annex.

A scrawled sheet lies next to the glass disaster.


We didn't do it. You all saw it, it was like that when we got here.

>take
What do you want to take?

>sheet
(the scrawled sheet)
You pick up the sheet, and find a formal (if hastily scrawled) receipt for the use of elemental earth in an optickal bench setup. "Permission granted to use elemental earth for optickal mirror calibration -- one day only. If you damage or lose the earth-shard, you will be on report until the Sun turns green. The Retort only has the one in stock!"

(You look down at the wreckage of the bench, and wince.)

You memorize the information, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.


This is not a good day for The Unanswerable Retort, is it?

>open closet
You take a deep breath and pull the door open. Once again, a foreign world breaks the Retort's familiar boundaries.

This time it is an Erebian land -- cracked slabs of ice tilting up above ancient snow.

>close closet
You shut the door on the Erebian world.


THE QUESTION WAS RHETORICAL. JERK.

>s
Opticks Annex
This is a quiet corner south of the Opticks laboratory. You've spent many hours here with the other scrubs, snatching extra practice time in your spare hours.

A round standing table in back is set up for ritual use. A gestalt shelf is fastened above it.

A neglected storage bin contains a scribbled sheet, a chip of flint, a concave glass lens, and a convex glass lens.

A white feather has fallen to the floor near the table.


There we go. Now let's ACTUALLY make us a resonant oculus.

>put card on shelf
You put the rotor card on the gestalt shelf.

>put loop in bound
You put the glass loop into the tabletop bound.

>speak simple
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the simple sealing word.

The arc begins to glow silver around the glass loop.

>speak resonant
You hum the resonant tone. The glass loop vibrates sharply in response.

>speak counterbalance
You speak the syllable of counterbalance. Aitheric forces eddy around the room, and then swirl in around the silver bound. The glass loop hums, responding to the vibration you imparted. The aitheric vortex tightens, until -- with a silver flash -- it is absorbed into the loop.

The glass has acquired the subtle pearly sheen of a working oculus.

>take oculus
Taken.


Hooray! So... what does a resonant oculus even do?

>x oculus
The oculus is a circular thread of glass, about an inch across, with a pearly sheen.

[Try "LOOK AT SOMETHING THROUGH OCULUS"]

>x brass coin through oculus
When viewed through the oculus, the brass coin displays a solar nature.

>x bound through oculus
You inspect the tabletop bound through the oculus, taking the shelf into account. The ritual environment has a lunar nature.

Odd. You notice a spark in the oculus, as if it were reflecting some light not present.


It does that. From now on, we can basically look at anything in the game and determine its nature, letting us pick from a very wide range of influences for rituals. But hey, what's that spark of light? SWITCH TO WIDE RANGE SCANS.

>l through oculus
You peer through the oculus. Everything acquires a colorful, hazy fringe.

Wait. There's something else.

It wasn't visible to the naked eye, but the oculus reveals a cyan spark floating in the air.

>x spark
You focus on the cyan spark through the oculus. It's just a point of light, but...

A memory obtrudes. It's an alchemical lesson, but not one you ever attended; perhaps not in any classroom or laboratory you've ever seen. The details are unclear -- and yet the lesson is vivid in your mind. The text being read describes an alchemical tool. "TO CREATE LAVELLE'S LODESTONE (to locate elementally pure substances): Prepare a lunar environment, but with a contaminating aroma. (This may require additional lunar symbology to outweigh the contamination.) Place a silver thread within the bound, and apply a simple sealing. Speak a word of essential nature; remove the aroma from the atmosphere; invoke a Minor Animus. When held and swung, this invaluable lodestone will direct itself towards a nearby source of pure elemental substance."

You consider these memories, including the Minor Animus.


Whoa. I know alchemy.

Let's see, we've got the lunar symbology in spades and all the formulas, we just need a silver thread.

>take all
white feather: Taken.
rotor card: Taken.
scribbled sheet: You've found another student's notes. A formula is scribbled on one side: the Anodyne Evocation, which aids the growth of the body.

On the back are some comments from a chymistry lecture: "Percalcination: to repeat the calcination procedure. (Typically produces a more stable and potent reagent.) First, calcine a metal. Then seal the retort (Hermetic) and invoke the Crystalline Tempering to clarify the salt's structure. Add more acid to redissolve, and continue heating until a second crystallization occurs."

You memorize the information, including the Anodyne Evocation. You also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.
chip of flint: Taken.
concave glass lens: Taken.
convex glass lens: Taken.


Man I'm glad I missed that sheet. MORE BORING THEORETICALS. Just for that I'm going to do another HIGHLY PRACTICAL RITUAL.

>put saline in bound
You locate a beaker in the clutter, pour a measure of saline into it, and place it within the tabletop bound.

>speak simple
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the simple sealing word.

The arc begins to glow palely around the beaker of saline.

>open ginger
You pop open the impet, and the ginger aroma rolls out, stinging your nose.

>speak counterbalance
You speak the syllable of counterbalance. The contents of the beaker ripple, and a wisp of golden steam rises from it.

>close ginger
You snap the ginger impet closed. Its aroma fades.

>open mint
You pop open the impet, and the peppermint aroma rolls out, making your nose ache.

>speak elementary
You intone the elementary word of binding. The liquid in the beaker steams, gold and green vapor swirling wildly above the surface. The bound emits a bright pulse of light and then goes dark.

You pick up the beaker, peer at the liquid -- looks stable, if rather cloudy -- and transfer it carefully to a potion bottle. You set aside the empty beaker.

>x potion
When drunk, this cloudy liquid should enable your flesh to resist even the most intense heat, albeit only for a few moments.


So that should let us get the key. But before we do that, I want to make a lodestone. Main Store might have that thread, right?

>n
Opticks Lab
This chamber is dedicated to experiments involving rays of light. A solid block of bluestone forms an immense workbench in the center of the room.

Whatever mirrors, prisms, and lenses are supposed to be arranged on the bench are there no longer. The equipment lies shattered on the floor -- all just an inextricable heap of broken glass, now.

The lab's door stands open to the west. A closet door to the east is closed. To the south is a storage annex.

>w
Lab Hall Southeast
The laboratory hallway runs north and west from this corner. The Secondary Lab, where you awoke, is to the south; its door is closed. The door to the Opticks Lab is open to the east.

>n
Lab Hall Northeast
This is the northeast corner of the laboratory hallway, which runs south and west. The lab stairwell opens to the southwest, but a fracture prevents entry. The Tertiary Lab is to the east; its door is closed. The Pyrics Lab door to the north is open.

>w
Lab Hall Northwest
The laboratory hallway runs east and south from this junction. Another corridor runs west, towards the rest of the marcher.

To the north, the door to the Main Store is open.

Someone has scrawled graffiti on the wall here. The black marks are curiously twisted; they hint at meaning, but you cannot read them.


Why did I manually walk everywhere this time? Uh... I'm hungry.

>n
Main Store
This is the general storeroom for the Retort's laboratories. Shelves begin here and extend to the east and west. However, a fracture to the east blocks a large part of the room. The door to the south is open.

You recognize a figure to the east, beyond the fracture. It's Ensign Ctesc. He is moving towards you -- or would be, if he were not frozen in place.

A steel safe is set into one wall. The safe is closed and locked with a heavy combination lock.

The nearest shelves are mostly empty, but a rough diamond, a length of silk cord, and a length of silver chain are within reach.

>x ctesc
It's Sydney Ctesc -- an East Empire name, his family is from out that way. He's an ensign in Alchemy, same as you, though a year senior. Short, quiet, studies hard.

You see something, a sequence of symbols, scrawled on Ctesc's hand. And his attention seems to be directed towards the steel safe.


Oh hey Ctesc is here too. And trying to get into the safe, huh? Probably just needed ingredients for some of his studies. I bet he is all about boring theoreticals.

>take all
rough diamond: Taken.
length of silk cord: Taken.
length of silver chain: Taken.

>w
Storage Nook
You are in an awkward nook behind the storeroom's last shelf. The rest of the room is east.

You see another hatch in the floor, though it's too small for a person. The cover seems to be solid lead. It is closed.

A glint of light reveals an Alchemy File seal lying near the hatch. Some officer will be in deep trouble for losing it.

>x file
This is a seal of silvery-bright rutilum, cast with the insignia of the Alchemy File. High-ranking Alchemy officers carry such badges. Someday you will be granted one... but right now, this one will be awfully handy.

>take
(the rutilum Alchemy File seal)
Taken.


These seals are effectively keys, although I don't know for sure if we've encountered anything this would unlock yet.

>open hatch
You try to lift the panel, but it's too heavy to move.


Had to try. Oh well. Let's make a lodestone.

>
You make your way to the Opticks Annex.

Opticks Annex
This is a quiet corner south of the Opticks laboratory. You've spent many hours here with the other scrubs, snatching extra practice time in your spare hours.

A round standing table in back is set up for ritual use. A gestalt shelf is fastened above it.

>open mint
The peppermint impet is already open.

>put card, silver coin on shelf
rotor card: Done.
silver coin: Done.

>put silver thread in bound
I didn't understand that sentence.

>x thread
Which do you mean, the resonant oculus, the steel bolt, or the pinch of zafranum?

>no
That was a rhetorical question.


At this point I had to backtrack to the Main Store and ensure I didn't forget to pick up the silver thread. I didn't, but it's a silver chain. What is 'dagger'?

>put chain in bound
You put the length of silver chain into the tabletop bound.

>speak simple
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the simple sealing word.

The arc begins to glow silver around the length of silver chain.

>speak essential
You intone the word of essential nature. The metallic nature of the silver chain rises to the surface.

>close mint
You snap the peppermint impet closed. Its aroma fades.

>speak animus
You voice the Minor Animus, trying not to cough. As the clicks and pops roll on, the chain begins to vibrate, and then writhe back and forth across the bound.

When you reach the final sound, the bound flares and fades. You see that the end of the chain has tied itself into a tiny silver knot.

>take all
lodestone of purity: Taken.
silver coin: Taken.
rotor card: Taken.

>x lodestone
The lodestone of purity is a length of silver chain with a tiny knot at one end. When swinging, it will be attracted to the presence of pure elemental substances.


So, now we have a bunch of exciting tools we can use to solve a bunch of puzzles. Where do we start, though?

Oh, and in addition to maps, I'll be posting some recalled info here, too.

>rooms
Since the accident, you have visited these notable locations:
the Secondary Alchemy Lab
the Mech Lab Crawlspace
the Void
the Herbarium Nook
the Chymic Lab
the Mechanica Lab
the Materials Store
the Opticks Lab
the Opticks Annex
the Pyrics Lab
the Pyrics Store
the Main Store
the Storage Nook
the Library
the Lab Wing Hallway

>doors
You have yet to deal with the following locked doors and barriers:
the Secondary Alchemy Lab door
the Chymic Lab door
the Opticks closet door
the Tertiary Lab door
the Lab Wing fire door
the Materials Store cabinet
the Storage Nook cabinet
the Main Store safe
seven fractures

>things
Since the accident, you have found (or created) these (portable) items:
two potion bottles (fire resistance and fungicide)
seven chymic flasks (saline, rubbing alcohol, mineral oil, muriatic acid, vinegar, lubanja, and sand)
three impets of essential oil (ginger, peppermint, and citronelle)
four metal rods (lead, platinum, nickel, and moon-metal)
four stone chips (granite, sandstone, flint, and obsidian)
seven wooden splints (elemental wood, cedar, maple, winter-oak, blackwood, green linden, and swamp pith)
two chimes (glass G-flat and glass H)
a brass pin
a steel bolt
a length of silver chain
a length of silk cord
a glass loop
a concave glass lens
a convex glass lens
a lump of rock salt
a fluorspar crystal
a long quartz prism
a broad quartz prism
a rough diamond
an iron bead
a length of platinum wire
a sprig of rosemary
a pinecone
a sprig of honeysuckle
a dried mushroom
a pinch of mustard seed
a pinch of zafranum
a white feather
a lump of camphrost
a resonant oculus
a lodestone of purity
a rutilum Alchemy File seal
a brass coin
a silver coin
a rotor card
a pair of tarnished calipers
a thick key
a porcelain paten

>recall
You have learned nine rituals: (* marks rituals you have not yet completed)
lodestone of purity creation
fire-resistance synthesis
resonant oculus creation
fungicide synthesis
universal tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin)
doubled rust cleansing inscription (with the steel bolt)
doubled tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin) (*)
basic rust cleansing inscription (with the steel bolt)
basic tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin)

You know an impressive list of alchemical formulae:
the Anodyne Evocation
a Minor Animus
a resonant tone
a syllable of counterbalance
a word of entension
a word of culmination
the Hermetic Sealing
the Binding of Antipathy
the categorical imperative
the Lesser Phlogistical Saturation
an elementary word of binding
a word of essential nature
a simple sealing word
an unsealing mantra

You have picked up assorted facts:
the percalcination procedure
the elemental earth loan
a lecture on potions
a lecture on gestalt shelves
the copper calcination demonstration
the crawlway access combination
the catalytic environment
the work assignment
the resinous note
a lecture on aromas

>people
[That's not an action I understand.]

>recall ctesc
You recall Ensign Sydney Ctesc. He is Alchemy-file, like you; you often see him around the labs. You don't know him well; he's quiet, not to mention a year your senior. He's short and moon-faced, somehow with shaggy hair despite the marcher haircut.

You last saw Ensign Ctesc in the Main Store, caught in a fracture.

>recall anderes
You recall Lieutenant Jana Anderes -- a tall woman with dark hair and a long pale face -- which is usually bent into a sour shape, contemplating the misdeeds of Alchemy-file ensigns such as yourself. Maybe she's more pleasant company off-duty; you'd hardly know. You've only usually seen her in her storerooms, stalking the shelves and begrudging every teaspoon of an alchemist's request.

You last saw Lt Anderes in the Secondary Lab Crawlspace, caught in a fracture.


And the map is the same as before, because I don't feel like dropping the entire world on your collective faces. YET.



Next Time: Aura cloud

Last edited by Kalir; 08-14-2015 at 11:01 AM.
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  #15  
Old 08-14-2015, 09:01 PM
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Mr Bean Mr Bean is offline
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So what happens when you look at a fracture through your fancy new oculus? Does it give you any clue what they are?
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  #16  
Old 08-15-2015, 11:58 AM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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>l
Opticks Lab
This chamber is dedicated to experiments involving rays of light. A solid block of bluestone forms an immense workbench in the center of the room.

Whatever mirrors, prisms, and lenses are supposed to be arranged on the bench are there no longer. The equipment lies shattered on the floor -- all just an inextricable heap of broken glass, now.

The lab's door stands open to the west. A closet door to the east is closed. To the south is a storage annex.

>open closet
You open the door, revealing starlit ice and snow.

>x fracture through oculus
Through the oculus, the fracture looks like... a fracture. Pieces of space, of the marcher, that do not connect as they should.

>x land through oculus
The Erebian land acquires a colorful fringe when viewed through the oculus, but its symbolic associations are not strong enough to visualize clearly.

>close closet
You shut the door on the Erebian world.


So there's our answer. We've got a couple disconnected cables, to simplify. But those cables kind of transfer all known matter, not just electricity or water or whatever.

But enough about that: we have a lodestone and if you remember...

>recall earth
"Permission granted to use elemental earth for optickal mirror calibration -- one day only. If you damage or lose the earth-shard, you will be on report until the Sun turns green. The Retort only has the one in stock!"

>swing lodestone
You hold the chain by one end, and set the knot swinging. The arc angles sharply towards the heap of glass.

Interesting. You step towards the heap, and move the lodestone slowly over it, keeping an eye on the angle of its swing. Yes -- there; a shard of crystal which is not broken at all. You nudge it free of the heap. This must be the elemental earth from the experiment.

>x earth
A shard of elemental earth -- colorless crystal with a milky translucency -- set in a fine crystal bezel.

>take
What do you want to take?

>earth
Taken.


Nice. I mean, this doesn't really HELP us any right now, but we have it. Seriously Sarge, you better be keeping track of all these brownie points we're earning.

>
You make your way to the Pyrics Lab.

Pyrics Lab
Waves of heat fill this room, radiating from a massive brick kiln and the roaring gas burners that fire it.

The lab door to the south is open. A storage area lies to the east.

Within the kiln, half-obscured by rippling heat, you can see a thick key and a porcelain paten.

A table at the other end of the room supports a glass vapor crock. The crock is open and empty.

You also see a jar of cedar splints on the table. Next to this are six splints of assorted woods: swamp pith, green linden, blackwood, winter-oak, maple, and elemental wood.


Anyway, we need that key, and the safest way to do it is probably just to walk in and take it.

...What do you mean, I could just try turning it off? Why would I pass up an opportunity to test out this AWESOME POTION?!

>drink potion
You swallow the cloudy potion. The liquid leaves your mouth feeling slightly numb. Within moments, you feel a prickle in your skin; your hands go cold and stiff, like a long walk on a chilly autumn day.

>x kiln
The kiln is a towering stack of firebrick. You can see gas burners roaring behind gaps in the base, pouring heat into the mass. Above, a narrow opening reveals the kiln's interior. The cavity shows no open flame, only a red glow and a thick ripple of heated air.

The kiln contains a thick key and a porcelain paten.

>take key, paten
thick key: Taken.
porcelain paten: You pick up the porcelain paten.


May as well grab the paten while we're here. But hey, we can leave the lab halls and go check out the rest of the marcher now!

>s
Lab Hall Northeast
This is the northeast corner of the laboratory hallway, which runs south and west. The lab stairwell opens to the southwest, but a fracture prevents entry. The Tertiary Lab is to the east; its door is closed. The Pyrics Lab door to the north is open.

>w
Lab Hall Northwest
The laboratory hallway runs east and south from this junction. Another corridor runs west, towards the rest of the marcher.

To the north, the door to the Main Store is open.

Someone has scrawled graffiti on the wall here. The black marks are curiously twisted; they hint at meaning, but you cannot read them.

>w
Lab Wing Hallway
This hallway runs east and west. However, the fire door to the west is locked, sealing you off from the rest of the Retort. A smaller door to the north leads to the Primary Alchemy Lab; it is open, but blocked by another fracture. An archway to the south leads to the Library.

Your fingers begin to buzz with returning circulation.


Huh, guess the potion doesn't last very long. No biggie, we can always mix up another if we need it.

>open door with key
Which do you mean, the heavy fire door or the pine Primary door?

>fire
You unlock the heavy fire door.

>w
(first opening the heavy fire door)
East Side Hallway
This broad hall runs from the Nave, to the west, through a fire door to the east and on towards the laboratory wing. A smaller hallway heads south towards the medical wing.

To the north, an enormous circular doorway leads to the Retort's main airlock. The inner airlock door is open.

Ever think that door might have been closed for a reason, kid? Are you sure you know what you're doing?

Working on it...


You catch a spark of light reflected in the oculus from somewhere.


We're in the clear! Speaking of clear, is that another weird memory thingy?

>l through oculus
You peer through the oculus. Everything acquires a colorful, hazy fringe.

The oculus reveals a fuchsia spark floating in the air.

Your fingers are tingling.

>x spark
You focus on the fuchsia spark through the oculus. It's just a point of light, but once again, a memory comes clear in your mind -- a lesson you've never attended. "Music is the most complex of ritual elements; one might well call it 'obfuscated.' We begin with the nursery-school lessons: the pitch A is associated with iron, the color red, the liver; B with bronze, orange, the stomach; C with brass... yes, you can all chant along. But this is simplified to uselessness. What of non-classical metals? We now associate C-sharp with rutilum, F-sharp with aluminum, G-sharp with nickel. Researchers have invented entirely new scales to deal with the spectrum of aither-metals. Then the Eastern Empire uses the well-tempered scale; thus while F-sharp is the mode of extension, G-flat is the mode of ostension, G-natural is intension, G-sharp is paratension, and H -- yes, there's an H -- is the mode of recension..."

You consider these memories.

Your fingers are no longer tingling. The potion must have worn off.


Well that isn't very useful to us now. I'm sure later down the road we'll have cause to do all kinds of sing-a-long spatial disjointment rituals or something, but for now? We're going to the Medical Wing first.

>s
Medical Wing Hallway
This short corridor leads to the medical wing, whose entrance is south.

Another alloy cabinet is fastened to the wall. It's supposed to be for dropping off samples, but something has (again) gone wrong. Some horrible gunk is leaking out at the seams; the whole cabinet is crusted with it.

As you approach the open door to the south, a disquieting sense of menace steals over you.

>x cabinet
The cabinet is filthy. Unnameable substances have leaked out at the seams and dribbled over the hinges.


Lovely. I don't even know what cleaning ritual would WORK on this.

>s
You take another step towards the door, but the sense of hungry menace intensifies. Another step, and your head starts to ache; chills crawl in your guts and nest there.

You have heard of this phenomenon, although you've never encountered it -- certainly not on a marcher as well-run as the Retort. At least, not as well-run as the Retort used to be...

An aura cloud is an uncontained psychic outbreak, a sucking vortex of vital energies. It's not a ghost, or a demon, but a less scientific age would certainly have viewed it as such. Any living aura that falls into resonance with the cloud will be drained black in moments. You'll have to protect or disguise your psychic signature, somehow, to pass by.

You back away before you suffer any more serious harm.


Whoa, cool! I mean, deadly, but cool. So if we want to get past this thing, we'll need some kind of defenses for our aura. Let's keep an eye out for such. As for the cabinet...

>put acid on cabinet
Which do you mean, the flask of muriatic acid or the flask of vinegar?

>muriatic
You sprinkle some muriatic acid onto the cabinet, but it doesn't affect the gunk much.

>put alcohol on cabinet
You sprinkle some rubbing alcohol onto the cabinet, but it doesn't affect the gunk at all.


So much for the elbow grease ritual.

>n
East Side Hallway
This broad hall runs from the Nave, to the west, through a fire door to the east and on towards the laboratory wing. A smaller hallway heads south towards the medical wing.

To the north, an enormous circular doorway leads to the Retort's main airlock. The inner airlock door is open.

>n
Airlock
The airlock is a stumpy cylindrical chamber, ten feet long and ten feet across. It is used whenever the Retort is rigged into a non-Gaian land. The chamber walls are bare steel. At each end is a circular slab of a door. The inner door to the south is open; the outer door to the north is closed.

The pressurization lever on the wall is pushed down.

>l through oculus
You peer through the oculus. Everything acquires a colorful, hazy fringe of symbolic association.


There's not much reason for us to go to the airlock right now. If the ship was rigged anywhere inhabitable, we'd have people aboard through it helping us. But hey, it's there if we need it.

>s
East Side Hallway
This broad hall runs from the Nave, to the west, through a fire door to the east and on towards the laboratory wing. A smaller hallway heads south towards the medical wing.

To the north, an enormous circular doorway leads to the Retort's main airlock. The inner airlock door is open.

>w
Nave
The Nave is the marcher's heart, though the rows of benches are empty now. The seats face a pedestal, on which is a ritual bound and shelf. The side walls boast symbolic frescos; the south wall is a high, ornamented metal mesh -- the writ screen -- which separates the Nave from the Chancel.

A mural has been defaced with more of those twisted black marks.

The main corridors run east and west from here, and the Retort's entry hall is north.


Aw no, not the murals!

>x murals
The murals depict Alchemical Man passing through the Eight Stages of calcination, dissolution, sublimation and so on. It's wonderfully detailed and you can stare at it for hours, which is of course the point, even though these medieval theories have long since been subsumed into modern alchemical science.

A mural has been defaced with more of those twisted black marks. It's the scene of conjunction, in the southwest corner. (Always a favorite.)

>x screen
The writ screen is a mesh barrier which forms the south wall of the Nave. You recall the ceremonies of the Retort's first launch: alchemical energies crackling over the screen, as the high rectors enacted potent rituals on the other side.


Well, that kinda sucks. Anyway, we can't go through the south wall, naturally, and the west leads to basically the rest of the marcher, so before I go into the next part of what we're doing here...

>n
Portico
You stand in the foyer of the marcher. It's wide and comfortably appointed, with lounging seats and potted tropical ferns. The Retort likes to look its best for visitors.

The main doors to the north are closed, however. A broad window in the east wall reveals the reason: the world outside is a Hadean land, grey and lifeless.

The Nave is south, and a narrow dark doorway opens to the west.


The doorway west is the Void. As a general rule, if it says a passageway is dark, that means that it goes to the void.

>x ferns
They're not actually tropical ferns. They're artfully sewn silk imitation ferns. The real ones kept dying for some reason, and the Captain got tired of paying for replacements out of the marcher's purse.

>x ferns through oculus
Through the oculus, the plants look tacky.

>sit on seat
The terror of Sergeant Brooks restrains you, even now.

>x window
The thick glass is a bit wavy, but you can see a grey, stony wasteland outside. The sky above is pitch-night with stars and an icy bright sun.


Right, now we're gonna move onto the next plan. The bad news is, we're not exploring anywhere new this update past here. The good news?

>s
Nave
The Nave is the marcher's heart, though the rows of benches are empty now. The seats face a pedestal, on which is a ritual bound and shelf. The side walls boast symbolic frescos; the south wall is a high, ornamented metal mesh -- the writ screen -- which separates the Nave from the Chancel.

A mural has been defaced with more of those twisted black marks.

The main corridors run east and west from here, and the Retort's entry hall is north.

>rooms
Since the accident, you have visited these notable locations:
the Secondary Alchemy Lab
the Mech Lab Crawlspace
the Void
the Herbarium Nook
the Chymic Lab
the Mechanica Lab
the Materials Store
the Opticks Lab
the Opticks Annex
the Pyrics Lab
the Pyrics Store
the Main Store
the Storage Nook
the Library
the Lab Wing Hallway
the Nave
the Airlock
the Portico
The following rooms still need to be checked with the oculus for sparks:
the Secondary Alchemy Lab
the Secondary Lab Crawlspace
the Mech Lab Crawlspace
the Crawlspace Bend
the Herbarium Nook
the Chem Lab Crawlspace
the Chymic Lab
the Mechanica Lab
the Lab Hall Southwest
the Materials Store
the Lab Hall Northwest
the Lab Hall Southeast
the Lab Hall Northeast
the Opticks Lab
the Pyrics Lab
the Pyrics Store
the Main Store
the Storage Nook
the Library
the Lab Wing Hallway
the Nave
the Medical Wing Hallway
the Portico


I'm going to be backtracking and scouring the early part of the marcher for sparks. There's really no reason not to, y'know?

>l through oculus
You peer through the oculus. Everything acquires a colorful, hazy fringe of symbolic association.


Just pretend that for any rooms not noticed I got this message. I'll fast forward to the actual results...

>s
Medical Wing Hallway
This short corridor leads to the medical wing, whose entrance is south.

Another alloy cabinet is fastened to the wall. It's supposed to be for dropping off samples, but something has (again) gone wrong. Some horrible gunk is leaking out at the seams; the whole cabinet is crusted with it.

As you approach the open door to the south, a disquieting sense of menace steals over you.

>l through oculus
You peer through the oculus. Everything acquires a colorful, hazy fringe of symbolic association.

>x cloud through oculus
The oculus makes the cloud visible as a whirling vortex of negative energy. Which you already knew, really.


Aside from this, which I just wanted to do because flavor.

>n
Main Store
This is the general storeroom for the Retort's laboratories. Shelves begin here and extend to the east and west. However, a fracture to the east blocks a large part of the room. The door to the south is open.

You recognize a figure to the east, beyond the fracture. It's Ensign Ctesc. He is moving towards you -- or would be, if he were not frozen in place.

A steel safe is set into one wall. The safe is closed and locked with a heavy combination lock.

>l through oculus
You peer through the oculus. Everything acquires a colorful, hazy fringe of symbolic association.

>x ctesc through oculus
You peer through the oculus, and see the complex mesh of elements that makes up a human body.

It's Sydney Ctesc -- an East Empire name, his family is from out that way. He's an ensign in Alchemy, same as you, though a year senior. Short, quiet, studies hard.

You see something, a sequence of symbols, scrawled on Ctesc's hand. And his attention seems to be directed towards the steel safe.


Just curious.

>w
Storage Nook
You are in an awkward nook behind the storeroom's last shelf. The rest of the room is east.

You see another hatch in the floor, though it's too small for a person. The cover seems to be solid lead. It is closed.

>l through oculus
You peer through the oculus. Everything acquires a colorful, hazy fringe.

The oculus reveals a magenta spark floating in the air.

>x spark
You focus on the magenta spark through the oculus. A new memory comes into focus. The text being read describes an alchemical tool. "DISPERSAL BRUSH: Conjured alchemical symbols generally fade after use. However, it is sometimes necessary to erase such a symbol directly. Touching the item with a dispersal brush accomplishes this. To create such a tool, place a feather quill within a bound in a neutral environment. Begin with a simple sealing; sprinkle alcohol spirits upon the quill; conclude with a word of culmination."

You consider these memories.


Okay there's a result. Kind of a boring one, but I guess if we want a given token for a different purpose than the symbol on it, we can undo our mistakes. Well, more efficiently than taking a long walk off a short spatial void would, anyway. But we have the ingredients already, so I'll finish the backtracking by making this.


>w
Materials Store
You are in a small storage area. The Mechanica Lab is back to the east.

To one side stands a heavy table, upon which is another ritual bound. This one is adjustable; it has been fitted with a length of platinum wire, but the arc is empty.

There's another cabinet here. This one is clean, but locked.


Oh whoa hold up, I totally missed this cabinet the first time. I'm terrible at this.

>x cabinet
The cabinet is a squarish compartment of some anonymous alloy. It is locked with an Alchemy File lock, to keep out nosy low-rankers like yourself. A seal of that File would open it.

>open cabinet
The cabinet is locked with an Alchemy File lock.

>open cabinet with file
(the rutilum Alchemy File seal)
You touch the rutilum Alchemy File seal to the cabinet, and the lock snaps complaisantly open.


Oh well.

>open cabinet
You open the cabinet, revealing a phlogisticated gold rod.

>x gold
You inspect it with some awe. Gold is lovely, of course, but phlogisticated gold is a rare alchemical resource. This rod is half the length of your finger, with a lustrous yellow gleam brighter and sharper than any natural metal.

>take
What do you want to take?

>gold
Taken.


Doesn't do us any good immediately, but hey, shiny!


>u
Chymic Lab
This wide room is dominated by a huge glass retort. You've practiced many chymical rituals in this apparatus. Hanging above the retort is an instructional sign.

The lab door to the east is closed. The only other exit is the hatch in the floor, which is open.

>l through oculus
You peer through the oculus. Everything acquires a colorful, hazy fringe of symbolic association.

>create fungicide
You make your way to the Herbarium Nook.
You take a pinch of mustard seed.
You make your way to the Chymic Lab.
You brew a bottle of fungicide.


Want to try this on the cabinet by the Medical Wing because hey, why not.

>e
Opticks Lab
This chamber is dedicated to experiments involving rays of light. A solid block of bluestone forms an immense workbench in the center of the room.

Whatever mirrors, prisms, and lenses are supposed to be arranged on the bench are there no longer. The equipment lies shattered on the floor -- all just an inextricable heap of broken glass, now.

The lab's door stands open to the west. A closet door to the east is closed. To the south is a storage annex.

You catch a spark of light reflected in the oculus from somewhere.

>l through oculus
You peer through the oculus. Everything acquires a colorful, hazy fringe.

The oculus reveals a violet spark floating in the air.

>x spark
You focus on the violet spark through the oculus. A new memory comes into focus. It concerns the pronunciation of the Crystalline Tempering. This formula seems to aid crystal formation in mineral substances.

You consider these memories, including the Crystalline Tempering.


Aw, not even a complex lesson or anything, just "here have a formula". DISAPPOINTING.

That's all the sparks from earlier in the game, though, and from here on out I'll keep one eye through my oculus.

>
You make your way to the Medical Wing Hallway.

Medical Wing Hallway
This short corridor leads to the medical wing, whose entrance is south.

Another alloy cabinet is fastened to the wall. It's supposed to be for dropping off samples, but something has (again) gone wrong. Some horrible gunk is leaking out at the seams; the whole cabinet is crusted with it.

A disquieting sense of menace radiates from the open door to the south.

>put fungicide on cabinet
You carefully drip the fungicide over the cabinet. It fumes away in a vile purple cloud, but the gunk is not affected. It may be organic but it's not fungus.


Welp, that's one new puzzle we don't immediately have the tools to solve. That and the aura cloud gives us a few obstacles to muse on. But since we didn't really see anything too new today, I won't post the things/rooms/doors list again. Instead, two things.

>
Nave
The Nave is the marcher's heart, though the rows of benches are empty now. The seats face a pedestal, on which is a ritual bound and shelf. The side walls boast symbolic frescos; the south wall is a high, ornamented metal mesh -- the writ screen -- which separates the Nave from the Chancel.

A mural has been defaced with more of those twisted black marks.

The main corridors run east and west from here, and the Retort's entry hall is north.

>put feather in bound
You put the white feather into the pedestal bound.

>speak simple
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the simple sealing word.

The arc begins to glow palely around the white feather.

>put alcohol on feather
You carefully drip rubbing alcohol onto the white feather. The quill absorbs the liquid without darkening.

>speak culmination
You declaim the word of culmination. It falls solidly into place; the bound flares and then darkens.

The feather ruffles in an unfelt breeze, and takes on a subtle sheen. It is simpler than the dispersal tools you've used in class, but it should be effective.

>take all
dispersal brush: Taken.

>x brush
The brush is a white feather with an icy sheen.


First, our dispersal brush. And just to make sure it works as intended...

>perform basic tarnish
You make your way to the Pyrics Store.
You conjure a basic saturation symbol onto the brass pin.

(You are now in the Pyrics Store.)

>touch pin with brush
You brush the feather across the brass pin. The basic saturation symbol blurs and fades away.


Nice.

Now the next thing: I'll finally actually post the full map! The marcher has opened up to us quite a bit now, and only a handful of rooms will remain inaccessible for now. But since we're no longer barred from the heart of it by a single door, I'll just throw the map here and let you guys decide what room looks coolest to explore first.



Next Time: Ivory bead
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  #17  
Old 08-15-2015, 12:28 PM
aturtledoesbite's Avatar
aturtledoesbite aturtledoesbite is offline
disguised king of surfing
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 16,749
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Mazes are probably fun! Let's go there!
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  #18  
Old 08-16-2015, 10:02 AM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
I have a Plan
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 6,704
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>w
West Side Hallway
The Retort's main hallway continues from the Nave, to the east, towards the exoscaphe bay to the west. A cross-corridor runs north towards quarters wing and south to the paper garden.

>l through oculus
You peer through the oculus. Everything acquires a colorful, hazy fringe of symbolic association.


So, we can either go to the not-space rover bay, we can go to the quarters, or we can go to a delightful and relaxing paper garden. I dunno about you, but all the stress of being alone on a busted marcher is reason enough for relaxation and reflection. (Also feel free to assume I am scanning literally every room we encounter with the oculus.)

>s
Paper Garden
The garden is the marcher's refuge of meditation and calm. Paper paths wind among beds of paper flowers; the walls are hung with paper trees beneath a calm blue-painted ceiling. A tiny brick-lined pool lies at the garden's center. The place isn't large, but it doesn't feel small. You've always liked it.

An opening to the north leads back to the Retort's main corridor, and another south to the lower reaches. To the east, a paper arch gives entry to the paper hedge maze. The observatory door to the west is closed.

>x maze
A decorative paper arch stands to the east, strung up on bamboo poles. Through it you can see the mad folds of the Retort's hedge maze, where you've never dared (or been ordered) to venture.


This place is really nice. It's not often Brooks lets us here, but when we do have the spare time, it's quite serene. Buuuut he's not here to tell us not to check out the maze, and mazes are probably fun.

>e
You step through the arch. Within moments, you are entirely turned around.

Lost in Paper Maze
You are standing in a hedge-maze of paper screens which form folding and forking paths in every direction. The screens are taller than you.

>x screens
The screens are painted with abstract leaf designs, representing hedgerows. They form the garden maze which surrounds the dragon's lair. The paths all look alike.

>s
You try going straight for a while. You think you have found somewhere new.

Lost in Paper Maze
This is a hedge-maze, formed of paper screens taller than you. The passages fork and fold in every direction.

The paper maze is the nest of the dragon Pneuma. Only senior officers are supposed to enter -- but you've never heard that the maze was difficult.

>e
Happily, you catch a glimpse of the archway, and stumble back out into the garden.

Paper Garden
The garden is the marcher's refuge of meditation and calm. Paper paths wind among beds of paper flowers; the walls are hung with paper trees beneath a calm blue-painted ceiling. A tiny brick-lined pool lies at the garden's center. The place isn't large, but it doesn't feel small. You've always liked it.

An opening to the north leads back to the Retort's main corridor, and another south to the lower reaches. To the east, a paper arch gives entry to the paper hedge maze. The observatory door to the west is closed.


Wait, but we didn't go west at all! That doesn't make any friggin' sense. Hang on.

>e
You step through the arch. Within moments, you are entirely turned around.

Lost in Paper Maze
You are standing in a hedge-maze of paper screens which form folding and forking paths in every direction. The screens are taller than you.

>ne
You take a sharp turn. It doesn't help.

Lost in Paper Maze
This is a hedge-maze, formed of paper screens taller than you. The passages fork and fold in every direction.

The paper maze is the nest of the dragon Pneuma. Only senior officers are supposed to enter -- but you've never heard that the maze was difficult.

>w
You try going straight for a while. You think you have found somewhere new.

Lost in Paper Maze
You are standing in a hedge-maze of paper screens which form folding and forking paths in every direction. The screens are taller than you.

This is really much more confusing than it should be.

>sw
By sheer luck, you catch a glimpse of the archway, and stumble back out into the garden.

Paper Garden
The garden is the marcher's refuge of meditation and calm. Paper paths wind among beds of paper flowers; the walls are hung with paper trees beneath a calm blue-painted ceiling. A tiny brick-lined pool lies at the garden's center. The place isn't large, but it doesn't feel small. You've always liked it.

An opening to the north leads back to the Retort's main corridor, and another south to the lower reaches. To the east, a paper arch gives entry to the paper hedge maze. The observatory door to the west is closed.


Okay then, I'm just going to assume that, as usual, something is wrong with the marcher. I can't imagine what kind of ridiculous 4-dimensional maze says 45 degree turns are sharp but about-faces are straight.

>w
(first opening the painted door)
It seems to be locked.

>x door
The observatory door is painted with Rococo cherubs and maidens, no doubt alluding to the Muse of Astrographerie. (The maidens are all tastefully veiled, to your long-time disappointment.) The door is closed and locked.


And not only is the Observatory locked, it's locked with really disappointing artwork. BAH.

>s
Grand Stair, Top
Two hallways intersect beneath an elegant vault of brick-red tile, which sweeps around to follow a grand staircase down to the lower levels. The garden is visible to the north. To the west is the ornate door of the Birdhouse, which is closed.

The hall to the south is blocked by yet another fracture. The side corridor to the east is much the worse; its far end seems to be on fire.

You see someone caught beyond the fracture: Lieutenant Powes. He appears to be walking towards the Birdhouse door.

>x powes
You recognize Lieutenant Michael Powes, a thin man with a piercing stare. But why here? You know he's Aithery-file, but a lieutenant wouldn't ordinarily have business in the Birdhouse.


Well that's weird, but weirder things have been done by us today (this week? not sure).

>recall powes
(Lt Powes)
Lieutenant Michael Powes is a beanstalk of a man, fair-skinned, with deep-set eyes that always reminded you of a hungry snake. He's Aithery-file, a junior Observatory officer; he spends his days over on the far side of the marcher where you rarely go.

Lt Powes is right here, stuck in the fracture.


Let's see what he was so concerned about, anyway.

>w
(first opening the engraved door)
You reach for the handle, but your fingers go numb and slide away.

Lovely. With everything that's wrong on the Retort, this one security stricture remains perfectly functional. It's reacting to your psychic signature -- an ensign can't just walk into the Birdhouse, so when you approach, the door gets defensive. Yes, "defensive" is a technical term in aura engineering.


Bah. Well, if we're lucky, we might get a solution that will let us both into here and the medical wing soon. But for now, let's go play in a literal inferno.

>e
Burning Hall West
This hall runs west to east, from the grand stairs to the high wing. You've never been inside the high wing, and your chances don't look good today, because it's on fire.

The entire east end of the hall is enveloped in flame. You can't tell what's burning -- the walls? the floor? But the heat is intense; you can't go any further.

>create fire potion
You make your way to the Nave.
You brew a bottle of fire-resistance potion.

(You are now in the Nave.)

>
You make your way to the Burning Hall West.

Burning Hall West
This hall runs west to east, from the grand stairs to the high wing. You've never been inside the high wing, and your chances don't look good today, because it's on fire.

The entire east end of the hall is enveloped in flame. You can't tell what's burning -- the walls? the floor? But the heat is intense; you can't go any further.

>drink potion
You swallow the cloudy potion. The liquid leaves your mouth feeling slightly numb. Within moments, you feel a prickle in your skin; your hands go cold and stiff, like a long walk on a chilly autumn day.

>e
You step into the flames, which feel like a warm breeze on your skin. Your marcher uniform, woven with alchemical virtues to resist this sort of mistreatment, only scorches slightly.

Unfortunately, your possessions do not fare so well. In the heat, the lead rod melts; seven chymic flasks shatter; the rosemary, the bundle of paper, the zafranum, the dried mushroom, the silk cord, the rotor card, and the dispersal brush burn up.

Burning Hall East
You are standing in an inferno. That is, you are at the east end of the hall, which is on fire. Even though you can barely feel the heat, the fire is hard to ignore.

To the east is an obsidian door, a dark rectangle amid the fire's glare. You know this door leads to the high wing and the Chancel, but it is closed and locked.

You see a sheet of paper lying in a niche where the fire is not so intense. Even so, the paper is singed and smoking.


Whoops. Yeah that's the risk of carrying everything with you wherever you go! Thankfully, accessibility comes to the rescue once again.

>undo
Burning Hall West
[Previous turn undone.]

>drop all
dispersal brush: Dropped.
phlogisticated gold rod: Dropped.
porcelain paten: Dropped.
thick key: Dropped.
shard of elemental earth: Dropped.
rotor card: Dropped.
silver coin: Dropped.
lodestone of purity: Dropped.
rutilum Alchemy File seal: Dropped.
length of silk cord: Dropped.
rough diamond: Dropped.
convex glass lens: Dropped.
concave glass lens: Dropped.
chip of flint: Dropped.
resonant oculus: Dropped.
lead rod: Dropped.
glass G-flat chime: Dropped.
dried mushroom: Dropped.
flask of saline: Dropped.
flask of mineral oil: Dropped.
flask of muriatic acid: Dropped.
flask of vinegar: Dropped.
flask of sand: Dropped.
impet of citronelle oil: Dropped.
brass coin: Dropped.
brass pin: Dropped.
lump of rock salt: Dropped.
iron bead: Dropped.
nickel rod: Dropped.
fluorspar crystal: Dropped.
long quartz prism: Dropped.
broad quartz prism: Dropped.
moon-metal rod: Dropped.
chip of sandstone: Dropped.
chip of granite: Dropped.
chip of obsidian: Dropped.
glass H chime: Dropped.
steel bolt: Dropped.
flask of lubanja: Dropped.
pinch of zafranum: Dropped.
flask of rubbing alcohol: Dropped.
tarnished calipers: Dropped.
impet of ginger oil: Dropped.
impet of peppermint oil: Dropped.
sprig of rosemary: Dropped.
bundle of paper: Better to keep the bundle of instructions on hand.

>take oculus
Taken.

>e
You step into the flames, which feel like a warm breeze on your skin. Your marcher uniform, woven with alchemical virtues to resist this sort of mistreatment, only scorches slightly.

Unfortunately, your possessions do not fare so well. In the heat, the bundle of paper burns up.

Burning Hall East
You are standing in an inferno. That is, you are at the east end of the hall, which is on fire. Even though you can barely feel the heat, the fire is hard to ignore.

To the east is an obsidian door, a dark rectangle amid the fire's glare. You know this door leads to the high wing and the Chancel, but it is closed and locked.

You see a sheet of paper lying in a niche where the fire is not so intense. Even so, the paper is singed and smoking.

The flames licking against your skin feel warmer now.


Good enough. We could type out every single thing that was burned instead, but I didn't feel like it.

>take paper
"RIESENZWEIG'S INSCRIPTION, to MIMIC THE AURA OF ANOTHER: This is Riesenzweig's translation of a Chinese poem (attributed to Yang Wan-Li). The effect is similar to Oehlke's Inscription. Construct a meditative environment based on the Book of Changes. (One should use the central ritual bound of the house, as the symbolism of this tradition always places the five elements in perfect balance.) Place beads of iron and jade within the bound, and speak a simple sealing. Place burning wood upon the gestalt shelf. Invoke the Name of the Tortoise. Discharge elemental air upon the bound. Close with the Chi Binding."

You memorize the instructions, including the Chi Binding. You also pick up the sheet, but it crumbles to ash in your hands. Fortunately your memory is good.

>l through oculus
You peer through the oculus. Everything acquires a colorful, hazy fringe of symbolic association.

Your fingers begin to buzz with returning circulation.


Okay, so we have some kind of aura ritual, but uh... do we have even half of those things? Guess we're filing this one away for now. And yeah I'm not playing with that door in these conditions.

>w
You step back out of the inferno.

Burning Hall West
This hall runs west to east, from the grand stairs to the high wing. The high wing is on fire at the moment; the east end of the corridor is an inferno. But you can barely feel the heat.

You can see a sprig of rosemary, a pair of tarnished calipers, a pinch of zafranum, a steel bolt, a broad quartz prism, a long quartz prism, a fluorspar crystal, an iron bead, a lump of rock salt, a brass pin, a brass coin, a dried mushroom, a concave glass lens, a convex glass lens, a rough diamond, a length of silk cord, a rutilum Alchemy File seal, a lodestone of purity, a silver coin, a rotor card, a shard of elemental earth, a thick key, a porcelain paten, a dispersal brush, three impets of essential oil (peppermint, ginger, and citronelle), seven chymic flasks (rubbing alcohol, lubanja, sand, vinegar, muriatic acid, mineral oil, and saline), two chimes (glass H and glass G-flat), four stone chips (obsidian, granite, sandstone, and flint), and four metal rods (moon-metal, nickel, lead, and phlogisticated gold) here.

>take all
sprig of rosemary: Taken.
tarnished calipers: Taken.
pinch of zafranum: Taken.
steel bolt: Taken.
broad quartz prism: Taken.
long quartz prism: Taken.
fluorspar crystal: Taken.
iron bead: Taken.
lump of rock salt: Taken.
brass pin: Taken.
brass coin: Taken.
dried mushroom: Taken.
concave glass lens: Taken.
convex glass lens: Taken.
rough diamond: Taken.
length of silk cord: Taken.
rutilum Alchemy File seal: Taken.
lodestone of purity: Taken.
silver coin: Taken.
rotor card: Taken.
shard of elemental earth: Taken.
thick key: Taken.
porcelain paten: You pick up the porcelain paten.
dispersal brush: Taken.
impet of peppermint oil: Taken.
impet of ginger oil: Taken.
impet of citronelle oil: Taken.
flask of rubbing alcohol: Taken.
flask of lubanja: Taken.
flask of sand: Taken.
flask of vinegar: Taken.
flask of muriatic acid: Taken.
flask of mineral oil: Taken.
flask of saline: Taken.
glass H chime: Taken.
glass G-flat chime: Taken.
chip of obsidian: Taken.
chip of granite: Taken.
chip of sandstone: Taken.
chip of flint: Taken.
moon-metal rod: Taken.
nickel rod: Taken.
lead rod: Taken.
phlogisticated gold rod: Taken.

>w
Grand Stair, Top
Two hallways intersect beneath an elegant vault of brick-red tile, which sweeps around to follow a grand staircase down to the lower levels. The garden is visible to the north. To the west is the ornate door of the Birdhouse, which is closed.

The hall to the south is blocked by yet another fracture. The side corridor to the east is much the worse; its far end seems to be on fire.

You see someone caught beyond the fracture: Lieutenant Powes. He appears to be walking towards the Birdhouse door.

Your fingers are tingling.

>d
You head down the grand staircase. The air grows cooler and quieter as you descend into the depths.

Grand Stair, Bottom
This basement is bare, square, and dank. It has, as far as you are aware, no function whatsoever. (Perhaps every house needs a basement, but the Navy does not stoop to clutter.)

The walls are tile; they arch up to join the grand staircase as it ascends to the main levels. The Barosy lies to the east, through a narrow iron gate with a brass lock. An irregular gap in the south wall opens out into a larger, darker space.

The chamber has been defaced with more of the illegible black marks.

Wait, a bit of clutter after all: a pale yellow bead is lying in a corner.

Your fingers are no longer tingling. The potion must have worn off.


This place always kind of unnerves me. Feels less like a marcher and more like a crypt, y'know?

>take
(the ivory bead)
Taken.

>x marks
More twisting black marks are scrawled across the wall and floor.


These weird markings again. Maybe it's a g-g-g-g-AURA CLOUD?!

>e
(first opening the iron gate)
It seems to be locked.

>x gate
The gate is tall and narrow, with heavy bars of wrought iron in an iron frame. It's always reminded you uncomfortably of a cemetary's side entrance. The gate is shut, and the heavy brass lock is locked.

You've never been inside; the room beyond looks like a bare stone tomb.


Another locked door. Not in any hurry to enter it, but it's there.

>s
Edge of Chasm
You stand on a broad stone walk, a ledge on the eastern wall of a vast canyon. You are underground; the roof is an arch of stone above you, barely visible. The bottom of the abyss is lost in utter darkness.

The chasm runs north and south, out of sight. The ledge follows it south, but to the north it ends abruptly in a wall of stone. A gap in the wall leads north to the basement. Another passage squirms into the rock to the east.

Boldly into the unknown, you think, even if it's the unknown reaches of my own marcher.

It's a start, kid.


Gonna try going east first, if only because there I stand less chance of death by terminal velocity.

>e
Confusing Cracks
You are lost in a maze of claustrophic cracks. You've stopped in a fairly wide space, but planes of basalt close in all around you. You could crawl in any imaginable direction; the largest passage heads back west.

In the center of this space is a thick column of stone, colored an eye-catching indigo. It runs from floor to ceiling.

A chip of basalt lies here. It must have cracked loose from the walls.

You catch a spark of light reflected in the oculus from somewhere.

>l through oculus
You peer through the oculus. Everything acquires a colorful, hazy fringe.

The oculus reveals a carmine spark floating in the air.


More mazes, but also more sparks? Sparks are probably fun!

>x spark
You focus on the carmine spark through the oculus. A new memory comes into focus. It concerns the structure of stone. "We are familiar with earth as a pure element in the Greek system. However, minerals need not be considered as imperfect approximations of a Platonic ideal; each has an alchemical structure, and we may discern relations between them. Thus, marble and obsidian are opposites -- white versus black, crystalline versus glassy, pelagic versus volcanic. Soapstone and basalt are another light-dark pair. Other opposing pairs rely on different relations. Chalk and flint are found together, but with different qualities. Granite and slate are formed by opposing geologic processes; so too sandstone and malachite. Porphyry and quartz are an interesting case..."

You consider these memories.

>x column
A thick column of some indigo mineral hangs down from the ceiling, tapering towards the floor. It's clearly natural, but you're not sure how it could have formed; this is not the domain of flowstone and stalactites. At any rate, it makes a distinctive landmark.

>x column through oculus
The indigo column acquires a colorful fringe when viewed through the oculus, but its symbolic associations are not strong enough to visualize clearly.


Okay, that's probably about all we're getting out of that. How about this maze of passages, then?

>n
You prowl through the twisting passages, but they all seem to lead back to where you started.


Argh, it's the paper maze all over again. Screw that, terminal velocity at least isn't annoying.

>w
Fortunately, the large passage leads you out of the maze.

Edge of Chasm
You stand on a broad stone walk, a ledge on the eastern wall of a vast canyon. You are underground; the roof is an arch of stone above you, barely visible. The bottom of the abyss is lost in utter darkness.

The chasm runs north and south, out of sight. The ledge follows it south, but to the north it ends abruptly in a wall of stone. A gap in the wall leads north to the basement. Another passage squirms into the rock to the east.

>s
The rock feels oddly unsteady underfoot.

Chasm Rubble
Rubble and fallen rocks litter the ledge here. You can walk north or south alongside the abyss, which waits patiently to the west. But you have an unnerving sense of vertigo. The world seems to sway around you.

A particularly massive slab lies at the chasm edge. Half its length rests on solid(-ish) ground; but the far half hangs out over empty space, quite unsupported.

You see a bronze chime lying on the far end of the slab. It looks very far away; the idea of crawling out there makes you feel even more unsteady than before.


I kinda don't wanna get that, but knowing this ridiculous marcher I'll probably need it for some kind of ritual.

>x slab
The slab is at least fifteen feet long, and more than a foot thick. The upper surface is worked flat; it must have been part of a bridge or balcony, somewhere above you, before the catastrophe. Now it lies precariously balanced on the edge of the chasm.

You see a bronze chime lying on the far end of the slab. It looks very far away; the idea of crawling out there makes you feel even more unsteady than before.

>take chime
(the bronze F-sharp chime)
You step out on the slab, and kneel at the balance-point. But when you lean forward, the entire thing shifts under your weight. You pull yourself back before the slab completely unbalances.

>take slab
It's a chunk of stone fifteen feet long. You're not picking it up.


Fine, be that way.

>s
The ledge seems to sway under your feet, worse and worse as you proceed.

Chasm, at Bridge
The ledge is narrower here; to the south it ends abruptly. To the east you see the entrance to the deep library -- a padlocked wooden door set into the canyon wall. To the west, a naked stone span bridges the canyon.

Vertigo assails you. What's going on here? Something must be wrong with the dragon Baros; that's what's supposed to keep gravity stable in the Retort.

You catch a spark of light reflected in the oculus from somewhere.


Man, I really hope I'm wrong about what's causing all this vertigo, and I'm actually just terrified of heights.

>l through oculus
You peer through the oculus. Everything acquires a colorful, hazy fringe.

The oculus reveals a sepia spark floating in the air.

>x spark
You focus on the sepia spark through the oculus. A new memory comes into focus. It concerns a phlegmatic sealing word. It has a stable, passive pattern -- Yin in the Oriental traditions, cool and moist in the Greek.

You consider these memories, including the phlegmatic sealing word.

>x door
The door is heavy pine, rather rougher than the doors in the rest of the Retort. Someone has locked it with an Venture File padlock, which is a violation of six different regulations on library use.


Please? Can we just go in the library? No? Ugh, fine. Guess we'll try the bridge...

>w
The waves of vertigo grow more intense as you stumble towards the bridge. The span itself seems to wobble, although you know it is just the unstable gravity throwing you back and forth.

This is a bad idea. You don't think you could get even halfway across, at this rate.


Nope nope nope nope nope. Okay, let's call it for today and go spend a nice, quiet, non-gravitational-horror time in the Paper Garden.

>rooms
Since the accident, you have visited these notable locations:
the Secondary Alchemy Lab
the Mech Lab Crawlspace
the Void
the Herbarium Nook
the Chymic Lab
the Mechanica Lab
the Materials Store
the Opticks Lab
the Opticks Annex
the Pyrics Lab
the Pyrics Store
the Main Store
the Storage Nook
the Library
the Lab Wing Hallway
the Nave
the Airlock
the Portico
the Paper Garden
the Grand Stair, Top
the Grand Stair, Bottom
the Burning Hall West
the Edge of Chasm
the Confusing Cracks

>doors
You have yet to deal with the following locked doors and barriers:
the Secondary Alchemy Lab door
the Chymic Lab door
the Opticks closet door
the Tertiary Lab door
the Airlock outer door
the Medical Wing door
the Portico main doors
the Observatory door
the Birdhouse door
the obsidian door
the Barosy gate
the Deep Stacks door
the South Chasm bridge
the Storage Nook cabinet
the Medical Wing Hallway cabinet
the Main Store safe
eight fractures

>things
Since the accident, you have found (or created) these (portable) items:
two potion bottles (fire resistance and fungicide)
seven chymic flasks (saline, rubbing alcohol, mineral oil, muriatic acid, vinegar, lubanja, and sand)
three impets of essential oil (ginger, peppermint, and citronelle)
five metal rods (lead, platinum, nickel, moon-metal, and phlogisticated gold)
five stone chips (granite, sandstone, flint, basalt, and obsidian)
seven wooden splints (elemental wood, cedar, maple, winter-oak, blackwood, green linden, and swamp pith)
three chimes (bronze F-sharp, glass G-flat, and glass H)
a shard of elemental earth
a brass pin
a steel bolt
a length of silver chain
a length of silk cord
a glass loop
a concave glass lens
a convex glass lens
a lump of rock salt
a fluorspar crystal
a long quartz prism
a broad quartz prism
a rough diamond
an iron bead
a length of platinum wire
a sprig of rosemary
a pinecone
a sprig of honeysuckle
a dried mushroom
a pinch of mustard seed
a pinch of zafranum
a plain white feather
a lump of camphrost
a dispersal brush
a resonant oculus
a lodestone of purity
a rutilum Alchemy File seal
a brass coin
a silver coin
an ivory bead
a rotor card
a pair of tarnished calipers
a thick key
a porcelain paten

>recall
Your store of knowledge is becoming unwieldy. Do you want to recall formulas, rituals, places, or facts?

[You can just type "FORMULAS", "RITUALS", or "FACTS" to see these lists.]

>rituals
You have learned eleven rituals: (* marks rituals you have not yet completed)
aura imitation inscription (*)
dispersal brush creation
lodestone of purity creation
fire-resistance synthesis
resonant oculus creation
fungicide synthesis
universal tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin)
doubled rust cleansing inscription (with the steel bolt)
doubled tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin) (*)
basic rust cleansing inscription (with the steel bolt)
basic tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin)

>formulas
You know an impressive list of alchemical formulae:
a phlegmatic sealing word
the Chi Binding
the Crystalline Tempering
the Anodyne Evocation
a Minor Animus
a resonant tone
a syllable of counterbalance
a word of entension
a word of culmination
the Hermetic Sealing
the Binding of Antipathy
the categorical imperative
the Lesser Phlogistical Saturation
an elementary word of binding
a word of essential nature
a simple sealing word
an unsealing mantra

>facts
You have picked up assorted facts:
the periodic table of stone
the Birdhouse defensive stricture
the nature of aura clouds
musical theory
the percalcination procedure
the elemental earth loan
a lecture on potions
a lecture on gestalt shelves
the copper calcination demonstration
the crawlway access combination
the catalytic environment
the work assignment
the resinous note
a lecture on aromas

>recall anderes
You recall Lieutenant Jana Anderes -- a tall woman with dark hair and a long pale face -- which is usually bent into a sour shape, contemplating the misdeeds of Alchemy-file ensigns such as yourself. Maybe she's more pleasant company off-duty; you'd hardly know. You've only usually seen her in her storerooms, stalking the shelves and begrudging every teaspoon of an alchemist's request.

You last saw Lt Anderes in the Secondary Lab Crawlspace, caught in a fracture.

>recall ctesc
You recall Ensign Sydney Ctesc. He is Alchemy-file, like you; you often see him around the labs. You don't know him well; he's quiet, not to mention a year your senior. He's short and moon-faced, somehow with shaggy hair despite the marcher haircut.

You last saw Ensign Ctesc in the Main Store, caught in a fracture.

>recall powes
You recall Lieutenant Michael Powes: a beanstalk of a man, fair-skinned, with deep-set eyes that always reminded you of a hungry snake. He's Aithery-file, a junior Observatory officer; he spends his days over on the far side of the marcher where you rarely go.

You last saw Lt Powes at the Top of the Grand Stair, caught in a fracture.




Look at all that junk we know! And look at all those pretty ridiculous problems we need to solve. What is even the deal here.

Next Time: Vitriolic acid
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  #19  
Old 08-18-2015, 12:24 AM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
I have a Plan
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 6,704
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>
You make your way to the West Side Hallway.

West Side Hallway
The Retort's main hallway continues from the Nave, to the east, towards the exoscaphe bay to the west. A cross-corridor runs north towards quarters wing and south to the paper garden.


We'll be covering the rest of the available map today, and getting a few new puzzles and some tools to solve existing ones. For this one, though I'm gonna stay hands-off for the most part, and see what people come up with.

>w
Scaphe Arcade
You are in a pleasant red-brick gallery edged by a row of wooden columns. A heavy steel portal in the west wall is the access to the marcher's exoscaphe. It's currently closed. A valve wheel is mounted next to the portal.

The arcade runs north towards an overlook window. There is a corridor to the east. You also see a crawlway hatch in the floor; it's open, but it seems to be flooded.

You notice a small brass cube lying by a column.

>x hatch
The crawlway hatch is uncovered, but water ripples in the opening. The entire crawlspace below must be flooded.


There's one problem. Of course we can swim, what kind of person can't swim in this day and age? But who knows how far that goes? Our lungs can only hold out for so long.

>w
(first opening the heavy steel portal)

Exoscaphe
The exoscaphe is a vehicle for exploring hostile lands. From the inside, it's more like being in a spherical steel tank. A windowless tank, at that. Presumably there's a better view from the pilot's dome; but the hatch above your head is closed.

A circular bench runs around the perimeter, broken only by the dark engine compartment to the west and the exit portal to the east. The portal is open. You see a small emergency lever next to it.

A cabinet is fastened to the wall. Its latch is tied shut with a knot of white cord.

On the bench are a crumpled sheet and a horn coin.

>x sheet
This explains the Binding of the Celestial Sphere, which is used in rituals involving astrological constructs.

You memorize the information, including the Binding of the Celestial Sphere. You also pick up the sheet. Just in case.

>u
(first opening the small hatch)
The dome hatch cannot be opened against a pressure differential.


Always wanted to try driving one of these. Let's see...

>close portal
You close the heavy steel portal.

>pull lever
You give the lever a quick tug. Air shrieks through the valve, and you feel your ears pop.

Gah! You release the lever before the pressure in the exoscaphe can drop further. Suffocating yourself is not on the agenda.


Scratch that, then. Lot of respiratory issues today, huh.

>e
(first opening the heavy steel portal)
There is a brief hiss as the pressure re-equalizes.

Scaphe Arcade
You are in a pleasant red-brick gallery edged by a row of wooden columns. A heavy steel portal in the west wall is the access to the marcher's exoscaphe. It's standing open. A valve wheel is mounted next to the portal.

The arcade runs north towards an overlook window. There is a corridor to the east. You also see a crawlway hatch in the floor; it's open, but it seems to be flooded.

You notice a small brass cube lying by a column.

>n
North Arcade
This is the north end of the gallery. A long window in the west wall overlooks the exoscaphe bay. You can see the 'scaphe itself on the other side, hooked up to the portal you saw back south.

To the north is a massive door of pale marble, outrageously carved. The door is closed.

Perhaps the door has suffered some damage. A chip of white marble is lying loose on the floor nearby.

>l through oculus
You peer through the oculus. Everything acquires a colorful, hazy fringe.

The oculus reveals a topaz spark floating in the air.

>x spark
You focus on the topaz spark through the oculus. A new memory comes into focus. "Well, you hear stories, right? Things folk see at the moment we rig out. Flashes, no more. The ghost of the Cold Crucible, lost and drowned in a Thalassan sea... Well, aye, I know the Crucible arrived safe home, and never reported any trouble on Titan. Mayhap the ghost is what didn't happen. Or what will... Still want to gripe you were posted here 'stead of to the Crucy?"

You consider these memories.


Huh, wonder if that's at all related to the sparks themselves. Like, if they saw a memory someone else had, kind of like we're doing now? But if so, that would probably violate all kinds of causality laws... ach, too far over my head. Let's stare at stuff.

>x door
The door to the north is an imposing marble slab, carved with cherubs and incongruously cheery grapevines. You've always wondered if this part of the marcher was taken from a decadent bathhouse somewhere. Not that decadent bathhouses are part of your life experience. Be that as it may, the door is firmly shut.

>x window
The thick glass is a bit wavy, but you can see the exoscaphe bay on the other side. It's a high brick hall, the mirror of this one, but with vast steel doors on the far side.

Most of the bay is taken up by the exoscaphe itself, a lumpy metal tortoise on track-tread wheels. The 'scaphe is backed up to its entry portal, which connects to this hall, southward.

The bay roof appears to have been damaged.

There seems to be a bit of paper lying at the far end of the bay.


Nooooo we can't get the paper I am sad.

>s
Scaphe Arcade
You are in a pleasant red-brick gallery edged by a row of wooden columns. A heavy steel portal in the west wall is the access to the marcher's exoscaphe. It's standing open. A valve wheel is mounted next to the portal.

The arcade runs north towards an overlook window. There is a corridor to the east. You also see a crawlway hatch in the floor; it's open, but it seems to be flooded.

You notice a small brass cube lying by a column.

>e
West Side Hallway
The Retort's main hallway continues from the Nave, to the east, towards the exoscaphe bay to the west. A cross-corridor runs north towards quarters wing and south to the paper garden.

>n
Quarters Access
This wing of the Retort is all quartering and mess. The hall continues north to the elevated realms of the officers. Your lowly domain is to the west. The body of the marcher is south.

A fragment of paper lies in the junction.


Ah, home sweet cramped home.

>take
(the partial sheet)
You don't recognize the handwriting. "...that the form or structure of a thing may be joined to the spirit or essence, thus replicating the thing itself, is the foundation of modern practice. Indeed, historians argue that the 'marriage' metaphor of ancient alchemy prefigures this principle. But to apply it recursively, parsing the structure and spirit of the spirit itself, requires the utmost care..."

You memorize the information, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.


Well that's confusing. Spirit duplication? I'm sorry, this setting is about alchemy, not ninjas or whatever.

>w
Scrubs Country
This familiar, faintly grubby hallway runs west towards the quarters and mess of the midshipmen and ensigns. To the north is a study room for you apprentices; to the south is your wardroom.

Unfortunately, another crack prevents you from proceeding any farther down the hall.

>n
Study Room
This small library is used by the apprentices and trainees to swot up on lecture notes. Introductory textbooks and battered lexicons are heaped up untidily in the corners. The exit is south.

Two papers, a torn sheet and a filthy sheet, are lying here.

A ricepaper ribbon is poking out from under a stack of books.

>take sheets
filthy sheet: This describes the creation of an alchemical instrument. "TO CREATE A PLANETARY LENS (which reveals symbolic associations of the celestial sphere): This will require two glass lenses of matching curvature. Prepare an environment with lunar influences, ensuring that the atmosphere is free of aromas. Place one lens within the bound, and invoke a simple sealing, followed by a word of essential nature. Let one drop of Java spirit upon the lens, and place the other lens atop it. The Binding of the Celestial Sphere will fuse the lenses and empower them."

You memorize the instructions, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.
torn sheet: This is another potion receipt. "A POTION to HOLD ONE'S BREATH: By properly balancing the phlogiston of the lungs and blood, one may retain breath for several minutes without discomfort. Prepare an exhilarant environment; aroma is particularly important for this working. One will also need a paten of exhilarant symbolism, prepared on the gestalt shelf. Place a measure of saline into the bound. Begin with the simple sealing, followed by the Anodyne Evocation. Place a bit of elemental wood upon the paten and ignite it. Conclude with an elementary binding."

You recall, from an unusually digressive lecture, that one never uses the chymic retort for potions intended to be drunk. You're also pretty sure that exhilarant symbolism has to do with wind, air, and breath. Also, for some reason, seaweed.

You memorize the instructions, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.


Oh, now that second one will definitely come in handy. We'll need the proper symbolism for it, mind, but we have just about everything else.

>x ribbon
The amulet is a small ribbon of ricepaper, painted with I Ching trigrams in the Oriental tradition. (The Empire is even-handedly syncretic -- it steals from everybody -- and the Navy uses these amulets to set up rituals of Chinese derivation.)

>take
(the Chinese amulet)
Taken.

>l through oculus
You peer through the oculus. Everything acquires a colorful, hazy fringe.

The oculus reveals an apricot spark floating in the air.

>x spark
You focus on the apricot spark through the oculus. A new memory comes into focus. It concerns a formula. The Ka Sealing word creates a boundary circle. It is derived from the Classical Egyptian analytical model of the human mind, or spirit.

You consider these memories, including the Ka Sealing.


Chinese and Egyptian inspirations. Cool.

>x books
You open one of the books. That's strange. It's not printed in English.

>x books
You look through another book. Why would any of the apprentices have foreign texts here? You don't even recognize the language.

>x books
You flip through another book. This one, too, is completely unfamiliar.


This is getting weird. Did the calamity also wreck all the text in the books while leaving them otherwise physically intact or something?

>s
Scrubs Country
This familiar, faintly grubby hallway runs west towards the quarters and mess of the midshipmen and ensigns. To the north is a study room for you apprentices; to the south is your wardroom.

Unfortunately, another crack prevents you from proceeding any farther down the hall.

>s
Under Ward
This closet-sized room is reserved for the rest and relaxation of the ensigns. Normally a few of you are about, studying or eating or (commonly) both; but these are not normal times and the room is abandoned.

Someone has left a tiny recipe sheet on the floor.

You notice somebody's torch-lighter here. Not that any ensign would ever sneak an illicit roll-up.

You can also see two chymic flasks (vitriolic acid and alum) here.

>take all
tiny sheet: The sheet describes another formula. The word of anaphylaxis inflames the sensitivity of contrary elements.

You memorize the information, including the word of anaphylaxis. You also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.
flask of vitriolic acid: Taken.
flask of alum: Taken.
torch-lighter: Taken.


Well that was straightforward.

>n
Scrubs Country
This familiar, faintly grubby hallway runs west towards the quarters and mess of the midshipmen and ensigns. To the north is a study room for you apprentices; to the south is your wardroom.

Unfortunately, another crack prevents you from proceeding any farther down the hall.

>e
Quarters Access
This wing of the Retort is all quartering and mess. The hall continues north to the elevated realms of the officers. Your lowly domain is to the west. The body of the marcher is south.


Okay. Now for something really scary. Yeah, we've walked into burning kilns, faced gravity spikes, and dealt with boring theoreticals, but now we're going to go into some truly unknown territory.

>n
Officer Country
It is widely rumored that an ensign walking this far up the hall will instantly combust. You still might, you suppose. The officer's mess is somewhere up there, but a fracture prevents you from going any farther.

The senior officers' quarters are east, and the juniors' are west.

That's the Captain leaning against the wall! You freeze in reflexive panic, before realizing that she is behind the fracture, frozen herself.


Holy whoa I feel like I just drank that vitriolic acid. That was a shock. But if the Captain is frozen, then... yeah, we're probably screwed.

>x captain
Captain Hart leans her burly frame against the wall. She's eyeing the hallway, as if worried that someone was about to walk by -- which is absurd, of course. The Captain doesn't worry; lowly officers worry about her.

>recall hart
(Captain Hart)
Captain Hart is a dark, burly woman. Her head is shaved clean, and set off by a gleaming, not-quite-regulation gold earring. Ensigns walk in fear of being noticed by her. She looks like she could pick up an errant scrubbie and throw him off the Retort -- probably with one hand. (Not true, of course. She'd just frown and a lieutenant would do it for her.)

Captain Hart is right here, stuck in the fracture.


I feel uneasy being around her. Gonna go somewhere else.

>w
Junior Quarters
This long room is the bunk space of the junior officers -- "junior" meaning "still above you," of course. The bunks are narrow but fussily neat, with a locker next to each. The exit is to the east.

The largest locker draws your eye: its latch is tied shut with a knot of white cord. A broad sheet of paper is pinned next to the locker.

You also notice a clay tile lying under one of the bunks.

>take paper
(the broad sheet)
This seems to be a practical assignment for the junior alchemists. "Today's friendly challenge for the juniors: open your locker! The cord is white-fuse, a material which burns quickly and cleanly -- but only when ignited with elemental fire. I've left tomorrow's assignment in the locker, so don't dawdle." You recognize Sergeant Brooks' handwriting. He really treats the juniors much more kindly than the swabbies, doesn't he.

Printed on the back of the sheet are the formal instructions: "IGNITING ELEMENTAL FIRE: Fire is the only pure element (of the European tradition) which cannot be refined from mundane matter. It must be ignited, and only phlogisticated gold can support its combustion. If one has a source of elemental fire, igniting a new wick is simple; but if not, the procedure is arduous. One must place the phlogisticated metal in a vapor crock with a bit of camphrost and burning blackwood -- the only flame hot enough to begin the reaction. Seal the crock. Once the camphrost's vapor pressure has built to the flash point, the metal will be ignited."

You memorize the instructions, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.


So that's what we can use our fancy phlogisticated gold for. We have the rest of the stuff too, should be easy enough.

>x tile
This is a small clay tile, embossed with a labyrinth figure.

>take
(the labyrinth tile)
You pick up the labyrinth tile.

>e
Officer Country
It is widely rumored that an ensign walking this far up the hall will instantly combust. You still might, you suppose. The officer's mess is somewhere up there, but a fracture prevents you from going any farther.

The senior officers' quarters are east, and the juniors' are west.

You see the Captain leaning against the wall, caught behind the fracture.

>e
Deck Suite
This looks like a comfortable place to drink tea. It must be a lounge set aside for the deck officers -- the three important enough to rate private staterooms. The three doors are marked with the symbols of Venture (north), Alchemy (south), and Aithery (east). All three are closed.

A locked cabinet hangs on the wall.

You notice another aromatic impet nearby. It's labelled "kelp".

Prying into the business of your superiors, now. Maybe there's hope for you, kid.


Well, if the Captain is frozen, then at this point I can only assume we're the only ones left standing. Which means no authority to tell us off for being this far in, which means we should do everything we can to fix it, preferably without letting anyone know we're violating all sorts of protocol in the process.

>take
(the impet of kelp oil)
Taken.

>n
You open the door, and discover another Hadean landscape.

This world is dark, layered with black dust -- not the common stone-grey of most Hadean lands. The sun is a blinding pinprick on the horizon.


Hadean desert, eh? Almost looks pretty. Almost.

>close door
Which do you mean, the Alchemy door, the Aithery door, or the Venture door?

>venture
You shut the door on the Hadean land.

>x cabinet
The cabinet is a squarish compartment of some anonymous alloy. It is locked with an Aithery File lock.

>s
(first opening the Alchemy door)

Master Rector's Quarters
This is where the Master Rector of The Unanswerable Retort sleeps, and presumably where he incinerates anybody who sniggers at his title. You can't see any scorch marks, but that just means he's tidy.

In one corner is a compact writing desk, with a couple of sheets of paper stacked on it. You see a rough sheet and a fine sheet.


Hehe. Quarters.

>take sheets
rough sheet: "BRODZIK'S INSCRIPTION, to RENDER ONE'S AURA IMPERMEABLE TO HARM: Invoke an environment of spiritual peace. Begin with a quartz token in the bound; this represents the ka soul. Invoke the Ka Sealing. Place a bit of orichalcum into the bound, representing the ba soul. Speak a word of anaphylaxis. At this point, but no sooner, add a strengthening element to the atmosphere. Close with the Binding of Antipathy, to repel harmful influences. Touch the token to a subject, and his aura will be nearly invulnerable for a few moments." Then, on the back: "Spiritual environment: meditative symbols on shelf. (Rainbow!)"

You memorize the instructions, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.
fine sheet: The paper describes two mathematical structures: an isomorphic group and an idempotent group.

You memorize the information, including the two formulae. You also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.


So that might be a way past the aura cloud by the Medical Wing...

>l through oculus
You peer through the oculus. Everything acquires a colorful, hazy fringe.

The oculus reveals a periwinkle spark floating in the air.

>x spark
You focus on the periwinkle spark through the oculus. A new memory comes into focus. The subject is an advanced aura inscription. "ROYCE'S INSCRIPTION, to RENDER ONE'S AURA INVISIBLE: Invoke an environment of spiritual peace. Begin with a quartz token in the bound; this represents the ka soul. Invoke the Ka Sealing. Sprinkle copper percalcinate over the token, representing the ba soul. Invoke an idempotent structure. Pour sublime spirit over the token; this represents the evanescence of the soul's name. Close with an elementary word of binding. This inscription will render the subject's aura indetectable to malign forces, though only briefly."

You consider these memories.


And that could help with the birdhouse. Nothing to get defensive about if there's nobody there, y'know? Only problem is, some of those ingredients are way esoteric. No idea where to get them.

>n
Deck Suite
This looks like a comfortable place to drink tea. It must be a lounge set aside for the deck officers -- the three important enough to rate private staterooms. The Venture door (north) and the Aithery door (east) are closed; the Alchemy door to the south is open.

A locked cabinet hangs on the wall.

>e
(first opening the Aithery door)
High Tower
You have found Captain Hart's private quarters. In marcher lore (though never in the Captain's presence) this hallowed spot is called the High Tower. It looks disappointingly un-medieval, though: spartan decor, a bunk of regulation width and crispness.

Some small clay disks are strewn on the bunk. They have designs imprinted on them -- are these reverse molds for the Retort's file badges? The Venture, Alchemy, and Medical molds are visible.

Another cabinet hangs on the wall. This one has no seal or keyhole, but an alchemical symbol shines on the cover.

A shiny sheet of paper has fallen near the cabinet.

>take sheet
(the shiny sheet)
It appears to be a research note. "THE PHLOGISTICATION OF ELECTRUM REGIUM: Phlogisticated gold is well-known, but it is not the only metal which may be alchemically charged. Electrum regium (an alloy of platinum and moon-metal) is by far the easiest; unlike gold, it may be phlogisticated with a simple laboratory procedure. Place a rod of electrum into a catalytic environment, and seal with a simple sealing. Pour yang oil over the metal and invoke an elementary binding." Then, on the back: "While phlogisticated gold is commonly used to support elemental fire, recent research indicates possible substitutes. Electrum regium is the most promising. While it does not survive the usual camphrost procedure, phlogisticated electrum regium can be ignited directly from an existing source of elemental fire."

You memorize the instructions, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.


That seems like a complete waste of time and resources, particularly resources we don't have. And why would we need a second source of elemental fire, anyway?

>x cabinet
The cabinet is a squarish compartment made of plate rutilum. (Fancy. Or perhaps practical; rutilum is supposed to have spiritual qualities.)

The cabinet is closed. The alchemical symbol for attraction shines on its surface.

>open cabinet
You pull on the cabinet, but the cover is stuck tight. The symbol must be holding it closed.


That's a bizarre locking method. Requiring keys or a file isn't good enough, no, we're gonna throw a ritual at it as a lock.

>x molds
You can't use multiple objects that way. [Try examining the Venture File clay mold.]

>x venture mold
A thumb-sized clay disk with a reverse impression of a Marcher Venture File badge.

>take all
Venture File clay mold: You pick up the Venture File clay mold.
Alchemy File clay mold: You pick up the Alchemy File clay mold.
Medical File clay mold: You pick up the Medical File clay mold.


Huh. Do they use these to create new files? That could be pretty handy, now, couldn't it?

>rooms
Since the accident, you have visited these notable locations:
the Secondary Alchemy Lab
the Mech Lab Crawlspace
the Void
the Herbarium Nook
the Chymic Lab
the Mechanica Lab
the Materials Store
the Opticks Lab
the Opticks Annex
the Pyrics Lab
the Pyrics Store
the Main Store
the Storage Nook
the Library
the Lab Wing Hallway
the Nave
the Airlock
the Portico
Junior Quarters
the Deck Suite
the High Tower
the Master Rector's Quarters
the Study Room
the Under Ward
the Scaphe Arcade
the Exoscaphe
the Paper Garden
the Grand Stair, Top
the Grand Stair, Bottom
the Burning Hall West
the Edge of Chasm
the Confusing Cracks

>things
Since the accident, you have found (or created) these (portable) items:
two potion bottles (fire resistance and fungicide)
nine chymic flasks (saline, rubbing alcohol, mineral oil, muriatic acid, vitriolic acid, vinegar, lubanja, alum, and sand)
four impets of essential oil (ginger, peppermint, citronelle, and kelp)
five metal rods (lead, platinum, nickel, moon-metal, and phlogisticated gold)
six stone chips (granite, sandstone, flint, basalt, marble, and obsidian)
seven wooden splints (elemental wood, cedar, maple, winter-oak, blackwood, green linden, and swamp pith)
three chimes (bronze F-sharp, glass G-flat, and glass H)
three clay molds (for Medical, Alchemy, and Venture Files)
a shard of elemental earth
a brass pin
a steel bolt
a length of silver chain
a length of silk cord
a glass loop
a concave glass lens
a convex glass lens
a lump of rock salt
a fluorspar crystal
a long quartz prism
a broad quartz prism
a rough diamond
an iron bead
a length of platinum wire
a sprig of rosemary
a pinecone
a sprig of honeysuckle
a dried mushroom
a pinch of mustard seed
a pinch of zafranum
a plain white feather
a lump of camphrost
a torch-lighter
a dispersal brush
a resonant oculus
a lodestone of purity
a rutilum Alchemy File seal
a brass coin
a silver coin
a horn coin
a measuring block
an ivory bead
a Chinese amulet
a rotor card
a pair of tarnished calipers
a thick key
a porcelain paten
a labyrinth tile

>doors
You have yet to deal with the following locked doors and barriers:
the Secondary Alchemy Lab door
the Chymic Lab door
the Opticks closet door
the Deck Suite Venture door
the Tertiary Lab door
the Airlock outer door
the Medical Wing door
the Portico main doors
the North Arcade marble door
the Exoscaphe hatch
the Observatory door
the Birdhouse door
the obsidian door
the Barosy gate
the Deep Stacks door
the South Chasm bridge
the Storage Nook cabinet
the Medical Wing Hallway cabinet
the Junior Quarters cabinet
the Deck Suite cabinet
the High Tower cabinet
the Exoscaphe cabinet
the Main Store safe
ten fractures

>rituals
You have learned seventeen rituals: (* marks rituals you have not yet completed)
electrum phlogistication (*)
aura invisibility inscription (*)
aura impermeability inscription (*)
gold ignition (*)
breath-holding synthesis (*)
planetary lens creation (*)
aura imitation inscription (*)
dispersal brush creation
lodestone of purity creation
fire-resistance synthesis
resonant oculus creation
fungicide synthesis
universal tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin)
doubled rust cleansing inscription (with the steel bolt)
doubled tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin) (*)
basic rust cleansing inscription (with the steel bolt)
basic tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin)

>formulas
You know an impressive list of alchemical formulae:
an isomorphic group
an idempotent group
a word of anaphylaxis
the Ka Sealing
the Binding of the Celestial Sphere
a phlegmatic sealing word
the Chi Binding
the Crystalline Tempering
the Anodyne Evocation
a Minor Animus
a resonant tone
a syllable of counterbalance
a word of entension
a word of culmination
the Hermetic Sealing
the Binding of Antipathy
the categorical imperative
the Lesser Phlogistical Saturation
an elementary word of binding
a word of essential nature
a simple sealing word
an unsealing mantra

>facts
You have picked up assorted facts:
the electrum substitution
the spiritual environment
the white-fuse challenge
the exhilarant environment
the recursive metaphor technique
the Cold Crucible gossip
the periodic table of stone
the Birdhouse defensive stricture
the nature of aura clouds
musical theory
the percalcination procedure
the elemental earth loan
a lecture on potions
a lecture on gestalt shelves
the copper calcination demonstration
the crawlway access combination
the catalytic environment
the work assignment
the resinous note
a lecture on aromas

>recall anderes
You recall Lieutenant Jana Anderes -- a tall woman with dark hair and a long pale face -- which is usually bent into a sour shape, contemplating the misdeeds of Alchemy-file ensigns such as yourself. Maybe she's more pleasant company off-duty; you'd hardly know. You've only usually seen her in her storerooms, stalking the shelves and begrudging every teaspoon of an alchemist's request.

You last saw Lt Anderes in the Secondary Lab Crawlspace, caught in a fracture.

>recall ctesc
You recall Ensign Sydney Ctesc. He is Alchemy-file, like you; you often see him around the labs. You don't know him well; he's quiet, not to mention a year your senior. He's short and moon-faced, somehow with shaggy hair despite the marcher haircut.

You last saw Ensign Ctesc in the Main Store, caught in a fracture.

>recall powes
You recall Lieutenant Michael Powes: a beanstalk of a man, fair-skinned, with deep-set eyes that always reminded you of a hungry snake. He's Aithery-file, a junior Observatory officer; he spends his days over on the far side of the marcher where you rarely go.

You last saw Lt Powes at the Top of the Grand Stair, caught in a fracture.

>recall hart
You recall Captain Hart: a dark, burly woman. Her head is shaved clean, and set off by a gleaming, not-quite-regulation gold earring. Ensigns walk in fear of being noticed by her. She looks like she could pick up an errant scrubbie and throw him off the Retort -- probably with one hand. (Not true, of course. She'd just frown and a lieutenant would do it for her.)

You last saw Captain Hart in Officer Country, caught in a fracture.




So that should be enough leads to get everyone thinking about how to solve stuff. But one last very important thing...

>x bed
Rumor lied -- there's not a fluffy pillow or sheepskin in sight.


Hah! Ensign Jimenez owes me lunch.

Next Time: White-fuse
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  #20  
Old 08-18-2015, 04:17 AM
Mr Bean's Avatar
Mr Bean Mr Bean is offline
Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Capital of the World
Posts: 984
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Yeah, we should have all the stuff to make elemental fire in the pyrics lab. Let's do and see what the officers hide in their footlockers.

While we're there, can we melt the alchemy file deal down and mold it into different ones to unlock some other doors?
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  #21  
Old 08-18-2015, 07:01 PM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
I have a Plan
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 6,704
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>
You make your way to the Pyrics Lab.

Pyrics Lab
Waves of heat fill this room, radiating from a massive brick kiln and the roaring gas burners that fire it.

The lab door to the south is open. A storage area lies to the east.

A table at the other end of the room supports a glass vapor crock. The crock is open and empty.

You also see a jar of cedar splints on the table. Next to this are six splints of assorted woods: swamp pith, green linden, blackwood, winter-oak, maple, and elemental wood.


Most of our plans for today involve the Pyrics Lab, so here we are. First on the agenda...

>recall ignition
"IGNITING ELEMENTAL FIRE: Fire is the only pure element (of the European tradition) which cannot be refined from mundane matter. It must be ignited, and only phlogisticated gold can support its combustion. If one has a source of elemental fire, igniting a new wick is simple; but if not, the procedure is arduous. One must place the phlogisticated metal in a vapor crock with a bit of camphrost and burning blackwood -- the only flame hot enough to begin the reaction. Seal the crock. Once the camphrost's vapor pressure has built to the flash point, the metal will be ignited."

>x blackwood
A thin, thumb-length splinter of glossy wood. Despite the name, it's not quite black.


We'll need to ignite this. There's camphrost in the Pyrics Store nearby, but I don't want to go get any until we can ignite this.

>ignite blackwood
(in the gas burners)
(first taking the splinter of blackwood)

You hold the splinter of blackwood to the gas burners. But the blackwood stubbornly resists catching light.


But nope, it doesn't want to burn. Wonder why? Well, on to plan B then.

>x venture
A thumb-sized clay disk with a reverse impression of a Marcher Venture File badge.

>put file on venture
Which do you mean, the Medical File clay mold, the Alchemy File clay mold, the Venture File clay mold, or the rutilum Alchemy File seal?

>rutilum
That's an awkward balancing act. Put the mold down first.


Okay fine. Let's see if we can't melt down our file into a new shape.

>put venture in kiln
You push the Venture File clay mold into the kiln's heat; but you have to yank your hand away instantly.

>put rutilum on venture
You push the rutilum Alchemy File seal onto the Venture File clay mold, amid the heat; but you have to yank your hand away instantly.

Rutilum melts at, what, three thousand degrees? This kiln won't do it.


Hm. Three thousand degrees in what notation? Either way, that's brushing up against the melting points of things like tungsten. Not remotely possible, we'll need to come up with another way.

Let's back off and do some stuff we already know we can do, maybe we'll get an idea.

>take elemental
(the splinter of elemental wood)
Taken.

>x lighter
You've lit things with lighters all your life; nothing unusual here. It's a ceramic oval the length of your little finger. When you squeeze it, a little flame shoots out of the end.

>
You make your way to the Nave.

Nave
The Nave is the marcher's heart, though the rows of benches are empty now. The seats face a pedestal, on which is a ritual bound and shelf. The side walls boast symbolic frescos; the south wall is a high, ornamented metal mesh -- the writ screen -- which separates the Nave from the Chancel.

A mural has been defaced with more of those twisted black marks.

The main corridors run east and west from here, and the Retort's entry hall is north.


So for the breath potion, we'll need an exhilarant environment, both with aroma and the paten mentioned. Thankfully, this new kelp impet should handle that quite nicely, if our guess is right.

>open kelp
You pop open the impet, and the kelp aroma rolls out, salty and faintly rotten.

>put paten on shelf
You put the porcelain paten on the gestalt shelf.

>put saline in bound
You locate a beaker in the clutter, pour a measure of saline into it, and place it within the pedestal bound.

>speak simple
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the simple sealing word.

The arc begins to glow golden around the beaker of saline.

>speak anodyne
You begin the Anodyne Evocation. The rhythm beats in your chest and blood. Slowly, the liquid in the beaker begins to effervesce.

>put wood on paten
Which do you mean, the splinter of elemental wood or the splinter of blackwood?

>elemental
You put the splinter of elemental wood on the porcelain paten.

>ignite elemental wood
(with the torch-lighter)
You hold the torch-lighter to the splinter of elemental wood. The elemental wood catches quickly, and burns with a yellow flame.

>speak elementary
You intone the elementary word of binding. The liquid in the beaker roils, bubbles dramatically, and goes abruptly still. The splinter of wood, equally abruptly, is extinguished; the bound emits a bright pulse of light and vanishes.

The bound fades. You lift the beaker and gently decant the clear potion into a fresh bottle. You set aside the empty beaker.

>x potion
Drinking this clear potion will allow you to hold your breath comfortably for several minutes.


It worked! And we were able to light the elemental wood on fire, no problem. So maybe the blackwood can still be lit if we get creative about it.

>take all
porcelain paten: (first taking the splinter of elemental wood from the paten)
You pick up the porcelain paten.
splinter of elemental wood: You already have that.

>
You make your way to the Pyrics Lab.

Pyrics Lab
Waves of heat fill this room, radiating from a massive brick kiln and the roaring gas burners that fire it.

The lab door to the south is open. A storage area lies to the east.

Within the kiln, half-obscured by rippling heat, you can see a Venture File clay mold.

A table at the other end of the room supports a glass vapor crock. The crock is open and empty.

You also see a jar of cedar splints on the table. Next to this are four splints of assorted woods: swamp pith, green linden, winter-oak, and maple.


Okay, we have a bunch of wood samples here. Let's try the oak first, why not.

>ignite oak
(in the gas burners)
(first taking the splinter of winter-oak)

You hold the splinter of winter-oak to the gas burners. The winter-oak catches quickly, and burns with a yellow-white flame.

>extinguish oak
You blow on the splinter of winter-oak until the flame goes out.


No problems there. But hm, it burned a little brighter than the elemental wood. Let's try another.

>ignite pith
(in the gas burners)
(first taking the splinter of swamp pith)

You hold the splinter of swamp pith to the gas burners. The swamp pith goes up in a bright flare; you snatch your hand away. Within instants, the swamp pith has been entirely devoured, and its flame winks out.

>undo
Pyrics Lab
[Previous turn undone.]


And instantly gone. Hm... maybe if we use a different type of flame we can catch the blackwood?

>ignite oak
(in the gas burners)
You hold the splinter of winter-oak to the gas burners. The winter-oak catches quickly, and burns with a yellow-white flame.

>ignite blackwood with oak
You hold the burning splinter of winter-oak to the splinter of blackwood. The blackwood catches quickly, and burns with a star-blue flame.

>extinguish oak
You blow on the splinter of winter-oak until the flame goes out.


Success! Now let's get that gold ignited.

>put blackwood in crock
You put the burning splinter of blackwood into the vapor crock.

>e
Pyrics Store
This is a tangle of storage racks, mostly empty. The Pyrics Lab is to the west.

On one rack you notice a jar of camphrost lumps.

A stack of firebrick in back serves as a crude ritual bound, complete with gestalt shelf.

>take camphrost
You shake a lump of camphrost from the jar.

Wisps of blue vapor steam from the camphrost.

>w
Pyrics Lab
Waves of heat fill this room, radiating from a massive brick kiln and the roaring gas burners that fire it.

The lab door to the south is open. A storage area lies to the east.

Within the kiln, half-obscured by rippling heat, you can see a Venture File clay mold.

A table at the other end of the room supports a glass vapor crock. The crock is open; it contains a splinter of blackwood (alight).

You also see a jar of cedar splints on the table. Next to this are three splints of assorted woods: swamp pith, green linden, and maple.

>put gold, camphrost in crock
phlogisticated gold rod: Done.
lump of camphrost: Done.

>close crock
You close the crock and seal its lid.

The lump of camphrost is shrinking visibly. The vapor accumulates in the crock.

>wait
Time passes.

>wait
Time passes.

The blackwood flares up. Then, with a violent hiss and an electric-blue flash, the camphrost vapor ignites.

The light swirls around the phlogisticated gold, like innumerable fireflies drawn to something greater. You hear a distinct basso pop as the metal bursts into flame -- the lambent gold aura of elemental fire.

In the brief flare, the splinter of blackwood is extinguished; the lump of camphrost vaporizes.

>open crock
You unseal and open the lid. A remnant scorched aroma drifts out.


Smell that? That's the smell of ALCHEMY.

>take fire
(the flaming phlogisticated gold rod)
Taken.

>x gold
Phlogisticated gold is a rare alchemical resource. This rod is half the length of your finger. One end burns with the deep golden incandescence of elemental fire.


Well, let's go see what they asked the juniors to do.

>
You make your way to Junior Quarters.

Junior Quarters
This long room is the bunk space of the junior officers -- "junior" meaning "still above you," of course. The bunks are narrow but fussily neat, with a locker next to each. The exit is to the east.

The largest locker draws your eye: its latch is tied shut with a knot of white cord.

>ignite fuse with fire
Which do you mean, the flaming phlogisticated gold rod or the torch-lighter?

>gold
You hold the flaming phlogisticated gold rod under the white-fuse. The cord ignites with a flash and a pop! It burns away almost instantly, leaving only the smell of burnt metal in the air.

>open
What do you want to open?

>locker
You open the large locker, revealing a lesson sheet.

>take
(the lesson sheet)
This looks like an assignment for junior-level alchemists. "TO RENDER GLASS PERMEABLE TO MATTER: Select a chime in the key of F sharp. Invoke a Helian environment (the aspect of the Sun). Place the chime into the bound; speak a simple sealing. Sprinkle pure sand onto the chime; vocalize a resonant tone; strike the chime, and conclude with a Relative Anima. Once the chime is invested, one need merely strike it again and embed it into a pane of glass. The chime's vibrations will permit it entry, and the entire pane will then be semi-fluid for as long as the chime resonates. But only attempt this with simple, flat sheets of glass -- curved glass has irregular vibrational modes, and the tuning will fail."

You memorize the instructions, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.

>recall f sharp
The bronze F-sharp chime is still within the slab (at the Chasm Rubble).


Hm... that probably won't be too far for us to do, but right now, we need a way to safely get that chime, and we just don't have that. Let's go open that other white-fuse locked thing.

>
You make your way to the Exoscaphe.

Exoscaphe
The exoscaphe is a vehicle for exploring hostile lands. From the inside, it's more like being in a spherical steel tank. A windowless tank, at that. Presumably there's a better view from the pilot's dome; but the hatch above your head is closed.

A circular bench runs around the perimeter, broken only by the dark engine compartment to the west and the exit portal to the east. The portal is open. You see a small emergency lever next to it.

A cabinet is fastened to the wall. Its latch is tied shut with a knot of white cord, much like the one you saw on the locker.

On the bench is a horn coin.

>ignite cord with gold
(the cabinet with the flaming phlogisticated gold rod)
You hold the flaming phlogisticated gold rod under the white-fuse. The cord ignites with a flash and a pop! It burns away almost instantly, leaving only the smell of burnt metal in the air.

>open cabinet
You open the cabinet, revealing a creased sheet and a plain sheet.

>take sheets
creased sheet: "A TALISMAN TO ATTRACT METALS: A common lodestone will attract iron, but to exert influence on other metals requires alchemical preparation. Begin with a Saturnine environment, and a bound containing a chime tuned to the desired metal. (Metal chimes are preferred, as glass may be insufficient to the strain.) Use a simple sealing. Surround the chime with zafranum, and immediately ignite this. Vocalize a resonant tone to prime the metal, and then strike it (without removing it from the bound!) Use the Mediate Anima to set the vibration. Once the ritual is complete, striking the chime will attract all nearby objects of the given substance."

You memorize the instructions, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.
plain sheet: "WINFIELD'S CLOCK TINCTURE (to repair or realign clockwork): This ritual requires an environment of precision and order. Place a measure of alum into the bound, and perform the Sealing of Shamash. Add perfect mud; speak a syllable of counterbalance; add sublime spirit, then a token of brass. Conclude with the Major Animus. The resulting potion embodies perfection in brass, and will induce perfection in any brass mechanism it touches."

You memorize the instructions, including the Sealing of Shamash. You also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.


That'd work, but we don't have the Mediate Anima, and we don't know what might make for a Saturnine environment. And that clock tincture needs way too much stuff we don't have to be of any use. Bah.


>rooms
Since the accident, you have visited these notable locations:

the Secondary Alchemy Lab
the Mech Lab Crawlspace
the Void
the Herbarium Nook
the Chymic Lab
the Mechanica Lab
the Materials Store
the Opticks Lab
the Opticks Annex
the Pyrics Lab
the Pyrics Store
the Main Store
the Storage Nook
the Library
the Lab Wing Hallway
the Nave
the Airlock
the Portico
Junior Quarters
the Deck Suite
the High Tower
the Master Rector's Quarters
the Study Room
the Under Ward
the Scaphe Arcade
the Exoscaphe
the Paper Garden
the Grand Stair, Top
the Grand Stair, Bottom
the Burning Hall West
the Edge of Chasm
the Confusing Cracks


>things
Since the accident, you have found (or created) these (portable) items:

three potion bottles (breath holding, fire resistance, and fungicide)
nine chymic flasks (saline, rubbing alcohol, mineral oil, muriatic acid, vitriolic acid, vinegar, lubanja, alum, and sand)
four impets of essential oil (ginger, peppermint, citronelle, and kelp)
five metal rods (lead, platinum, nickel, moon-metal, and phlogisticated gold (with elemental fire))
six stone chips (granite, sandstone, flint, basalt, marble, and obsidian)
seven wooden splints (elemental wood, cedar, maple, winter-oak, blackwood, green linden, and swamp pith)
three chimes (bronze F-sharp, glass G-flat, and glass H)
three clay molds (for Medical, Alchemy, and Venture Files)
a shard of elemental earth
a brass pin
a steel bolt
a length of silver chain
a length of silk cord
a glass loop
a concave glass lens
a convex glass lens
a lump of rock salt
a fluorspar crystal
a long quartz prism
a broad quartz prism
a rough diamond
an iron bead
a length of platinum wire
a sprig of rosemary
a pinecone
a sprig of honeysuckle
a dried mushroom
a pinch of mustard seed
a pinch of zafranum
a plain white feather
a lump of camphrost
a torch-lighter
a dispersal brush
a resonant oculus
a lodestone of purity
a rutilum Alchemy File seal
a brass coin
a silver coin
a horn coin
a measuring block
an ivory bead
a Chinese amulet
a rotor card
a pair of tarnished calipers
a thick key
a porcelain paten
a labyrinth tile


>doors
You have yet to deal with the following locked doors and barriers:

the Secondary Alchemy Lab door
the Chymic Lab door
the Opticks closet door
the Deck Suite Venture door
the Tertiary Lab door
the Airlock outer door
the Medical Wing door
the Portico main doors
the North Arcade marble door
the Exoscaphe hatch
the Observatory door
the Birdhouse door
the obsidian door
the Barosy gate
the Deep Stacks door
the South Chasm bridge
the Storage Nook cabinet
the Medical Wing Hallway cabinet
the Deck Suite cabinet
the High Tower cabinet
the Main Store safe
ten fractures


>rituals
You have learned twenty rituals: (* marks rituals you have not yet completed)

clock tincture synthesis (*)
metal attractor inscription (*)
glass permeability inscription (*)
electrum phlogistication (*)
aura invisibility inscription (*)
aura impermeability inscription (*)
gold ignition
breath-holding synthesis
planetary lens creation (*)
aura imitation inscription (*)
dispersal brush creation
lodestone of purity creation
fire-resistance synthesis
resonant oculus creation
fungicide synthesis
universal tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin)
doubled rust cleansing inscription (with the steel bolt)
doubled tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin) (*)
basic rust cleansing inscription (with the steel bolt)
basic tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin)


>formulas
You know an impressive list of alchemical formulae:

the Sealing of Shamash
an isomorphic group
an idempotent group
a word of anaphylaxis
the Ka Sealing
the Binding of the Celestial Sphere
a phlegmatic sealing word
the Chi Binding
the Crystalline Tempering
the Anodyne Evocation
a Minor Animus
a resonant tone
a syllable of counterbalance
a word of entension
a word of culmination
the Hermetic Sealing
the Binding of Antipathy
the categorical imperative
the Lesser Phlogistical Saturation
an elementary word of binding
a word of essential nature
a simple sealing word
an unsealing mantra


>facts
You have picked up assorted facts:

the electrum substitution
the spiritual environment
the white-fuse challenge
the exhilarant environment
the recursive metaphor technique
the Cold Crucible gossip
the periodic table of stone
the Birdhouse defensive stricture
the nature of aura clouds
musical theory
the percalcination procedure
the elemental earth loan
a lecture on potions
a lecture on gestalt shelves
the copper calcination demonstration
the crawlway access combination
the catalytic environment
the work assignment
the resinous note
a lecture on aromas


And the people:

>recall ctesc
You recall Ensign Sydney Ctesc. He is Alchemy-file, like you; you often see him around the labs. You don't know him well; he's quiet, not to mention a year your senior. He's short and moon-faced, somehow with shaggy hair despite the marcher haircut.

You last saw Ensign Ctesc in the Main Store, caught in a fracture.

>recall anderes
You recall Lieutenant Jana Anderes -- a tall woman with dark hair and a long pale face -- which is usually bent into a sour shape, contemplating the misdeeds of Alchemy-file ensigns such as yourself. Maybe she's more pleasant company off-duty; you'd hardly know. You've only usually seen her in her storerooms, stalking the shelves and begrudging every teaspoon of an alchemist's request.

You last saw Lt Anderes in the Secondary Lab Crawlspace, caught in a fracture.

>recall powes
You recall Lieutenant Michael Powes: a beanstalk of a man, fair-skinned, with deep-set eyes that always reminded you of a hungry snake. He's Aithery-file, a junior Observatory officer; he spends his days over on the far side of the marcher where you rarely go.

You last saw Lt Powes at the Top of the Grand Stair, caught in a fracture.

>recall hart
You recall Captain Hart: a dark, burly woman. Her head is shaved clean, and set off by a gleaming, not-quite-regulation gold earring. Ensigns walk in fear of being noticed by her. She looks like she could pick up an errant scrubbie and throw him off the Retort -- probably with one hand. (Not true, of course. She'd just frown and a lieutenant would do it for her.)

You last saw Captain Hart in Officer Country, caught in a fracture.


There's like four iterations of the map itself on this page alone, so I won't be reposting that.

Next Time: Planetary lens
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  #22  
Old 08-20-2015, 07:12 AM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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>go to lens
Which do you mean, the concave glass lens or the convex glass lens?

>convex
You're holding the convex glass lens.

>
You make your way to the Nave.

Nave
The Nave is the marcher's heart, though the rows of benches are empty now. The seats face a pedestal, on which is a ritual bound and shelf. The side walls boast symbolic frescos; the south wall is a high, ornamented metal mesh -- the writ screen -- which separates the Nave from the Chancel.

A mural has been defaced with more of those twisted black marks.

The main corridors run east and west from here, and the Retort's entry hall is north.


Let's start off simple. We haven't made the planetary lens yet, there's no good reason for us not to, and it sounds almost as useful as the oculus.

>close kelp
You snap the kelp impet closed. Its aroma fades.

>put silver coin on shelf
You put the silver coin on the gestalt shelf.

>put convex in bound
You put the convex glass lens into the pedestal bound.

>speak simple
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the simple sealing word.

The arc begins to glow silver around the convex glass lens.

>speak essential
You intone the word of essential nature. The glassy nature of the lens rises to the surface.

>put java on convex
You place a drop of lubanja onto the convex glass lens. It spreads into a fine film across the surface.

>put concave on convex
The silver light ripples as you push through the arc. You place the concave glass lens against the convex glass lens; the curved surfaces adhere on their delicate film of solvent.

>speak celestial
You begin invoking the Binding of the Celestial Sphere. The sounds seem distant and foreign, but you speak them precisely. The lenses glow as if in silver moonlight.

When the light fades, the lenses have fused into a single opalescent glass -- a planetary association lens.

>x lens
A lens of opalescent glass, about an inch and a half wide.

>take all
planetary lens: Taken.
silver coin: Taken.


So, the oculus reveals elemental and symbolic associations (i.e. orderly, fiery, earthy, anchored, and so on). The planetary lens, on the other hand...

>x silver coin through lens
You peer at the silver coin through the lens, and perceive an association with the Moon.

>x bound through lens
When viewed through the lens, the ritual bound appears as an arc of pure potential.


Exactly what it says on the cover. Unfortunately, I don't think it can analyze ritual bounds as a whole, and needs to check components on the gestalt shelf, but that's a minor quibble. And the lens, naturally, can't detect those weird memory sparks.

>
You make your way to the Main Store.

Main Store
This is the general storeroom for the Retort's laboratories. Shelves begin here and extend to the east and west. However, a fracture to the east blocks a large part of the room. The door to the south is open.

You recognize a figure to the east, beyond the fracture. It's Ensign Ctesc. He is moving towards you -- or would be, if he were not frozen in place.

A steel safe is set into one wall. The safe is closed and locked with a heavy combination lock.

>x ctesc through lens
Through the planetary lens, you can see the Zodiacal associations stream from Ctesc's hand towards the safe. The symbols are: Libra, Ophiuchus, Taurus, Scorpio.


Anyway, using this, we can easily detect the symbols on Ctesc's hand for the planetary safe.

>x safe through lens
You peer through the planetary lens. The alignment of the safe dial is clearly visible: Libra, Ophiuchus, Taurus, Scorpio.

(Does such basic alchemy really circumvent Navy-standard locks? Maybe some protection has come adrift. Lucky day for you.)


Or we can ignore him completely like I did the first time I did this puzzle.

>turn dial to libra
You set the lock to Libra.

>turn dial to ophiuchus
You set the lock to Ophiuchus.

>turn dial to taurus
You set the lock to Taurus.

>turn dial to scorpio
You set the lock to Scorpio.

The safe's lock clicks and releases!

You open the safe, revealing an orichalcum rod.

>x orichalcum
Orichalcum, or quickcopper, is a brittle metal with a fiery, rose-pink luster. It's one of the rarer alchemical metals; this rod is half the length of your finger, but it's still more of the stuff than you've ever handled before.

>take
(the orichalcum rod)
Taken.


Either way, we get a very valuable prize. Orichalcum is essential to almost any ritual involving aura nonsense, and quite a few that don't, so we'll need to consider where we're spending this bit carefully. And yes, it gets consumed in almost every single variant.

>
You make your way to the Pyrics Lab.

Pyrics Lab
Waves of heat fill this room, radiating from a massive brick kiln and the roaring gas burners that fire it.

The lab door to the south is open. A storage area lies to the east.

Within the kiln, half-obscured by rippling heat, you can see a Venture File clay mold.

A table at the other end of the room supports a glass vapor crock. The crock is open; it contains a splinter of blackwood.

You also see a jar of cedar splints on the table. Next to this are three splints of assorted woods: swamp pith, green linden, and maple.

>x lead
A small rod of plain, dull grey lead.


Anyway, my next plan here is to get around the fact that rutilum can't be melted with anything shy of a killsat by melting something much easier to manage.

>put lead in venture
You push the lead rod onto the Venture File clay mold, amid the heat; but you have to yank your hand away instantly.

The lead rod immediately slumps into a puddle, and dribbles away into the kiln.


It would probably help if I removed the rutilum from the mold first. A bit of command-futzing later...

>create fire potion
You brew a bottle of fire-resistance potion.

(You are now in the Pyrics Store.)

>w

Pyrics Lab
Waves of heat fill this room, radiating from a massive brick kiln and the roaring gas burners that fire it.

The lab door to the south is open. A storage area lies to the east.

Within the kiln, half-obscured by rippling heat, you can see a Venture File clay mold.

A table at the other end of the room supports a glass vapor crock. The crock is open; it contains a splinter of blackwood.

You also see a jar of cedar splints on the table. Next to this are three splints of assorted woods: swamp pith, green linden, and maple.

>drink fire
Which do you mean, the gas burners, the potion of fire resistance, the flaming phlogisticated gold rod, or the torch-lighter?

>potion
You swallow the cloudy potion. The liquid leaves your mouth feeling slightly numb. Within moments, you feel a prickle in your skin; your hands go cold and stiff, like a long walk on a chilly autumn day.

>take file
Which do you mean, the Venture File clay mold, the rutilum Alchemy File seal, the Medical File clay mold, or the Alchemy File clay mold?

>rutilum
Taken.

>put lead in venture
You slide the lead rod unhurriedly onto the Venture File clay mold.

The lead melts immediately, filling the Venture File mold.

>take lead
You lift the Venture File clay mold, and blow on the lead until it cools a bit. Then you dump the seal out into your palm. It's a perfect -- well, it's a pretty good impression of the Venture File badge.

>x lead
This seal is cast of lead and imprinted with the Venture File insignia.

Your fingers begin to buzz with returning circulation.

>x lead through lens
You peer at the lead Venture File seal through the lens, and perceive an association with the Retort itself.


Hooray, malfeasance through melting highly toxic metals!

>
You make your way to the Chasm at the Bridge.

Chasm, at Bridge
The ledge is narrower here; to the south it ends abruptly. To the east you see the entrance to the deep library -- a padlocked wooden door set into the canyon wall. To the west, a naked stone span bridges the canyon.

Vertigo assails you. Something is badly wrong with the gravity here.

Your fingers are tingling.

>open door with lead
You touch the lead Venture File seal to the door, and the lock pops open.

Your fingers are no longer tingling. The potion must have worn off.


Near as the marcher cares, a lead file is just as good as a rutilum one, so we're in.

>e
(first opening the pine door)

Deep Stacks
The tomes in these stacks are little-regarded treasures, or so the librarians tell you. For certain, though, a marcher never discards a book. The shelves are overstuffed.

The room is unfurnished; you see books and nothing beside. The only door is west. However, the south wall is split by a bulging yellow intrusion.

You can see a crackly sheet and a moldering sheet here.

>take sheets
crackly sheet: It's a reagent receipt. "THE SYNTHESIS of BAMURIATIC ACID: This substance is similar to muriatic acid, but even more corrosive and toxic. Exercise caution! Prepare your retort with the mineral fluorspar in a bath of vitriol. Invoke the sealing; heat until the crystal has entirely dissolved. Discontinue the heat. Add saline solution, but be sure to first use a word of entension (to prevent a premature reaction.) Once combined, a word of culmination will allow the reaction to complete in a controlled manner."

You memorize the instructions, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.
moldering sheet: The paper describes two mathematical structures: a symmetric sequence and an antisymmetric sequence.

You memorize the information, including the two formulae. You also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.


Oooh, bamuriatic acid, you say? I bet that stuff could melt damn near anything that moves, and most things that don't.

>l through oculus
You peer through the oculus. Everything acquires a colorful, hazy fringe.

The oculus reveals an indigo spark floating in the air.

>x spark
You focus on the indigo spark through the oculus. A new memory comes into focus. It concerns the synthesis of an alchemical compound. "THE SYNTHESIS of JACKSON-MUD (a perfect balance of elemental earth and water): Begin with a medium of simple sand, and the Hermetic sealing. Invoke the Crystalline Tempering. Add one of the pure elements to the retort, and speak the word of entension; then add the other, and speak the word of emulgence."

You consider these memories.


Huh, that shouldn't be too bad. Once we find some elemental water and learn the word of emulgence, we're set for perfect mud, and that's one step closer to the clock tincture.

>x growth
A bulbous yellow outcrop bulges in through a crevice in the south wall. The growth looks more like undersea coral than anything else. But it must have originated in some other world, perhaps a Thalassan land.

You notice something poking out from underneath the outcrop -- the corner of a bit of paper, trapped between the coral and the floor.

>take paper
(the bundle of paper)
You already have that.

>take coral
You try to dig your fingers into the yellow coral. A small chunk comes away in your hand.


I don't even know what this mess over here is supposed to be. But we do want that paper the game can't recognize, and maybe having a sample of this coral will help us get through.

>x books
You pick up a book at random. The pages are blank.

>x books
This book is also blank.

>x books
Blank again. You have no idea what's going on.


Also, Ensign Forsyth might actually be a cat. Either that or every single book on the marcher is FUBAR for some reason.

>
You make your way to the Pyrics Lab.

Pyrics Lab
Waves of heat fill this room, radiating from a massive brick kiln and the roaring gas burners that fire it.

The lab door to the south is open. A storage area lies to the east.

A table at the other end of the room supports a glass vapor crock. The crock is open; it contains a splinter of blackwood.

You also see a jar of cedar splints on the table. Next to this are three splints of assorted woods: swamp pith, green linden, and maple.

>put aithery in kiln
You can't see any such thing.

>x mold
Which do you mean, the Venture File clay mold, the Medical File clay mold, or the Alchemy File clay mold?

>scream
You can't see any such thing.


Despite all, we can't open the cabinet in the Officers' quarters. No Aithery mold, so no Aithery file, forged or otherwise. So instead, we're going to create horrifically dangerous acid!

>
You make your way to the Chymic Lab.

Chymic Lab
This wide room is dominated by a huge glass retort. You've practiced many chymical rituals in this apparatus. Hanging above the retort is an instructional sign.

The lab door to the east is closed. The only other exit is the hatch in the floor, which is open.

>x fluorspar
It's a small, roughly cubical chunk of orange-yellow fluorspar crystal.

>put fluorspar, vitriol in retort
fluorspar crystal: Done.
flask of vitriolic acid: You pour a measure of vitriolic acid into the retort.

>speak hermetic
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the Hermetic Sealing.

The retort's equator begins to glow pearl-grey around the fluorspar crystal and the reservoir of vitriolic acid.

>turn on burner
You twist the knob. The gas burner hisses, and then bursts into flame.

The gas flame heats the vitriolic acid.

>wait
Time passes.

The gas flame heats the vitriolic acid.

>wait
Time passes.

The vitriolic acid bubbles over the flame.

>wait
Time passes.

The fluorspar crystal slowly dissolves into the acid, giving it a rich amber tint.

>turn off burner
You twist the knob. The gas burner goes silent, and the blue flames die.

>put saline in retort
You add a quantity of saline to the retort. Hot amber acid bubbles and spatters around the inside of the retort, but the diluted result eventually settles down.


Whoops. Let's maybe not culminate that and blow up the retort, how about. Read the instructions carefully, Forsyth!

>undo
Chymic Lab
[Previous turn undone.]

>speak entension
You declaim the word of entension. The world seems to hold its breath.

>put saline in bound
You add a quantity of saline to the retort. The liquids mix, but not entirely -- the retort now contains a swirling mixture of amber filaments.

>speak culmination
You declaim the word of culmination.

The amber mixture blends together, all at once. But there is no boiling, no explosion. The liquid steams silently away, filling the retort with vapor. When it clears, the solution has been reduced to a few drops of -- well, if a clear liquid ever looked malevolent, it's this stuff.

You locate a wax-lined vial, tap the bamuriatic acid into it, and flush the retort.

>x bamuriatic
Bamuriatic acid is powerful enough to dissolve stone and corrode glass. You've made only a tiny amount, and it's contained in wax-coated vial, but you're still wary of it.


FEEL THE POWER, KRONK.

>rooms
Since the accident, you have visited these notable locations:

the Secondary Alchemy Lab
the Mech Lab Crawlspace
the Void
the Herbarium Nook
the Chymic Lab
the Mechanica Lab
the Materials Store
the Opticks Lab
the Opticks Annex
the Pyrics Lab
the Pyrics Store
the Main Store
the Storage Nook
the Library
the Lab Wing Hallway
the Nave
the Airlock
the Portico
Junior Quarters
the Deck Suite
the High Tower
the Master Rector's Quarters
the Study Room
the Under Ward
the Scaphe Arcade
the Exoscaphe
the Paper Garden
the Grand Stair, Top
the Grand Stair, Bottom
the Burning Hall West
the Edge of Chasm
the Deep Stacks
the Confusing Cracks


>things
Since the accident, you have found (or created) these (portable) items:

three potion bottles (breath holding, fire resistance, and fungicide)
nine chymic flasks (saline, rubbing alcohol, mineral oil, muriatic acid, vitriolic acid, vinegar, lubanja, alum, and sand)
four impets of essential oil (ginger, peppermint, citronelle, and kelp)
six metal rods (lead, platinum, nickel, moon-metal, orichalcum, and phlogisticated gold (with elemental fire))
six stone chips (granite, sandstone, flint, basalt, marble, and obsidian)
seven wooden splints (elemental wood, cedar, maple, winter-oak, blackwood, green linden, and swamp pith)
three chimes (bronze F-sharp, glass G-flat, and glass H)
three clay molds (for Medical, Alchemy, and Venture Files)
two seals (lead Venture and rutilum Alchemy)
a shard of elemental earth
a brass pin
a steel bolt
a length of silver chain
a length of silk cord
a glass loop
a concave glass lens
a convex glass lens
a lump of rock salt
a fluorspar crystal
a long quartz prism
a broad quartz prism
a rough diamond
an iron bead
a length of platinum wire
a sprig of rosemary
a pinecone
a sprig of honeysuckle
a dried mushroom
a chunk of coral
a pinch of mustard seed
a pinch of zafranum
a plain white feather
a lump of camphrost
a vial of bamuriatic acid
a torch-lighter
a dispersal brush
a resonant oculus
a planetary lens
a lodestone of purity
a brass coin
a silver coin
a horn coin
a measuring block
an ivory bead
a Chinese amulet
a rotor card
a pair of tarnished calipers
a thick key
a porcelain paten
a labyrinth tile


>doors
You have yet to deal with the following locked doors and barriers:

the Secondary Alchemy Lab door
the Chymic Lab door
the Opticks closet door
the Deck Suite Venture door
the Tertiary Lab door
the Airlock outer door
the Medical Wing door
the Portico main doors
the North Arcade marble door
the Exoscaphe hatch
the Observatory door
the Birdhouse door
the obsidian door
the Barosy gate
the South Chasm bridge
the Storage Nook cabinet
the Medical Wing Hallway cabinet
the Deck Suite cabinet
the High Tower cabinet
ten fractures


>rituals
You have learned twenty-two rituals: (* marks rituals you have not yet completed)

perfect mud synthesis (*)
bamuriatic acid synthesis
clock tincture synthesis (*)
metal attractor inscription (*)
glass permeability inscription (*)
electrum phlogistication (*)
aura invisibility inscription (*)
aura impermeability inscription (*)
gold ignition
breath-holding synthesis
planetary lens creation
aura imitation inscription (*)
dispersal brush creation
lodestone of purity creation
fire-resistance synthesis
resonant oculus creation
fungicide synthesis
universal tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin)
doubled rust cleansing inscription (with the steel bolt)
doubled tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin) (*)
basic rust cleansing inscription (with the steel bolt)
basic tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin)


>formulas
You know an impressive list of alchemical formulae:

a symmetric sequence
an antisymmetric sequence
the Sealing of Shamash
an isomorphic group
an idempotent group
a word of anaphylaxis
the Ka Sealing
the Binding of the Celestial Sphere
a phlegmatic sealing word
the Chi Binding
the Crystalline Tempering
the Anodyne Evocation
a Minor Animus
a resonant tone
a syllable of counterbalance
a word of entension
a word of culmination
the Hermetic Sealing
the Binding of Antipathy
the categorical imperative
the Lesser Phlogistical Saturation
an elementary word of binding
a word of essential nature
a simple sealing word
an unsealing mantra


>facts
You have picked up assorted facts:

the store safe combination
the electrum substitution
the spiritual environment
the white-fuse challenge
the exhilarant environment
the recursive metaphor technique
the Cold Crucible gossip
the periodic table of stone
the Birdhouse defensive stricture
the nature of aura clouds
musical theory
the percalcination procedure
the elemental earth loan
a lecture on potions
a lecture on gestalt shelves
the copper calcination demonstration
the crawlway access combination
the catalytic environment
the work assignment
the resinous note
a lecture on aromas


And the people:

>recall anderes
You recall Lieutenant Jana Anderes -- a tall woman with dark hair and a long pale face -- which is usually bent into a sour shape, contemplating the misdeeds of Alchemy-file ensigns such as yourself. Maybe she's more pleasant company off-duty; you'd hardly know. You've only usually seen her in her storerooms, stalking the shelves and begrudging every teaspoon of an alchemist's request.

You last saw Lt Anderes in the Secondary Lab Crawlspace, caught in a fracture.

>recall ctesc
You recall Ensign Sydney Ctesc. He is Alchemy-file, like you; you often see him around the labs. You don't know him well; he's quiet, not to mention a year your senior. He's short and moon-faced, somehow with shaggy hair despite the marcher haircut.

You last saw Ensign Ctesc in the Main Store, caught in a fracture.

>recall powes
You recall Lieutenant Michael Powes: a beanstalk of a man, fair-skinned, with deep-set eyes that always reminded you of a hungry snake. He's Aithery-file, a junior Observatory officer; he spends his days over on the far side of the marcher where you rarely go.

You last saw Lt Powes at the Top of the Grand Stair, caught in a fracture.

>recall hart
You recall Captain Hart: a dark, burly woman. Her head is shaved clean, and set off by a gleaming, not-quite-regulation gold earring. Ensigns walk in fear of being noticed by her. She looks like she could pick up an errant scrubbie and throw him off the Retort -- probably with one hand. (Not true, of course. She'd just frown and a lieutenant would do it for her.)

You last saw Captain Hart in Officer Country, caught in a fracture.


So, where to next? The orichalcum could open up some new possibilities, but at the same time, we still haven't tried out this breath potion yet.

Also, because I messed up slightly: in order to create the Saturnine influence for the chime nonsense, we need the lead rod. But as you can see, melting it into a marcher file altered its planetary alignment. Not a huge problem, we can reset the world once we need to do those rituals, but I just figured I'd let you know.

Next Time: Miasma gong
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  #23  
Old 08-20-2015, 09:43 AM
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Mogri Mogri is online now
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Oh, I feel it.
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  #24  
Old 08-20-2015, 09:43 AM
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Mr Bean Mr Bean is offline
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We should also try our dangerous new acid on the medical wing cabinet. What could possibly go wrong?
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  #25  
Old 08-20-2015, 06:11 PM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
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>drink bamuriatic
Not for all the orichalcum in New Wales.

>
You make your way to the Medical Wing Hallway.

Medical Wing Hallway
This short corridor leads to the medical wing, whose entrance is south.

Another alloy cabinet is fastened to the wall. It's supposed to be for dropping off samples, but something has (again) gone wrong. Some horrible gunk is leaking out at the seams; the whole cabinet is crusted with it.

A disquieting sense of menace radiates from the open door to the south.

>put bamuriatic on cabinet
You dribble the bamuriatic acid over the cabinet, and the guck starts to dissolve away. (The smell is horrific.) You can't get the cabinet entirely clean, but you manage to free up the hinges, at least.


Hooray, we managed to not die after performing one-and-a-half seriously dangerous ideas!

>open cabinet
You open the cabinet. The inside is still pretty filthy; you see a dull sheet and a glossy sheet inside.

>take sheets
dull sheet: "TO CREATE MISUBA'S LODESTONE (to locate the center of a labyrinth): Prepare an environment of earthy influences. Place a silk thread within the bound, and a labyrinth symbol upon the gestalt shelf. Begin with the Mithraic Sealing. Pour a sample of viridigris over the silk, and then lay a shard of elemental earth onto it. Strike a chime in the mode of recension. Now lay elemental fire upon the labyrinth symbol (not into the bound!) Finally, the Minor Animus will bind the lodestone to potential motion."

You memorize the instructions, including the Mithraic Sealing. You also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.
glossy sheet: "OEHLKE'S INSCRIPTION, to MIMIC THE AURA OF ANOTHER: Invoke an environment of spiritual peace. Begin with a quartz token in the bound; this represents the ka soul. Invoke the Ka Sealing. Sprinkle copper percalcinate over the token, representing the ba soul. Invoke an isomorphic structure. Pour elemental water over the token; this represents the mutability of the soul's name. Close with an elementary word of binding. Touch the token to the donor, then to the recipient. NOTE: Imitating the aura of a superior officer is malfeasance under Naval law."

You memorize the instructions, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.


Oooooh. The lodestone of centrality will probably let us get to the middle of the Paper Maze, so we can finally see the dragon Pneuma! Only real sticking point there is viridigris. We also have a slightly more manageable way of mimicking someone else's aura, if we don't think we can stealth our way into the Birdhouse.

>
Nave
The Nave is the marcher's heart, though the rows of benches are empty now. The seats face a pedestal, on which is a ritual bound and shelf. The side walls boast symbolic frescos; the south wall is a high, ornamented metal mesh -- the writ screen -- which separates the Nave from the Chancel.

A mural has been defaced with more of those twisted black marks.

The main corridors run east and west from here, and the Retort's entry hall is north.

>x ribbon through oculus
When viewed through the oculus, the Chinese amulet displays a spiritual nature.

>put ribbon on shelf
You put the Chinese amulet on the gestalt shelf.


But for starters, let's take it simple. The impermeability ritual should be enough to bust past the aura cloud and get into the Medical Wing.

>x quartz
Which do you mean, the long quartz prism or the broad quartz prism?

>broad
It's a hexagonal prism of clear quartz crystal, rather broad.

>put broad in bound
You put the broad quartz prism into the pedestal bound.

>recall ka
The Ka Sealing word creates a boundary circle. It is derived from the Classical Egyptian analytical model of the human mind, or spirit.

>speak ka
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the Ka Sealing.

The arc begins to glow indigo around the broad quartz prism.

>put orichalcum in bound
The indigo light ripples as you push through the arc. You align the orichalcum rod against the broad quartz prism.

>speak anaphylaxis
You intone the word of anaphylaxis; it makes your mouth itch. The orichalcum rod and the broad quartz prism vibrate against each other, emitting a high, irritating whine.

>x citronelle
It's a standard Navy alchemical aromatic impet, designed to fill a lab with odor without spilling essential oils all over the place. The citronelle impet is closed.

>open citronelle
You pop open the impet, and the citronelle aroma rolls out, cloying-sweet.

>speak antipathy
You begin invoking the Binding of Antipathy, forcing out the bitter phrases.

After long moments, your lips start going numb; you inhale the lemony aroma, which seems to soothe them, and continue chanting. Soon the indigo light flares, and the orichalcum rod begins to dissolve into the quartz.

When the orichalcum is entirely gone, a symbol shines on the surface of the broad quartz prism.

>close citronelle
You snap the citronelle impet closed. Its aroma fades.

>take all
broad quartz prism: You pick up the broad quartz prism, careful of its inscribed impermeability symbol.
Chinese amulet: Taken.


Tasty.

>
Medical Wing Hallway
This short corridor leads to the medical wing, whose entrance is south.

The alloy cabinet on the wall is open.

A disquieting sense of menace radiates from the open door to the south.

>touch broad to self
You press the broad quartz prism against your hand. The impermeability symbol discharges with a bone-vibrating hum.

You feel a sudden wave of uncaring, a calm detachment, as if all trouble and pain were a story told to someone else.


...Whatever.

>s
You walk towards the door, unafraid. The malevolent chill is still present, but it feels trivial, a problem for someone else to worry about.

Then it doesn't feel quite so trivial. Your protection is wearing away. You hurriedly step through the door.

Medical Wing
This would be a waiting room, were it not as cluttered as every other part of the medical wing. The uncomfortable-looking chairs are outnumbered by the obscure-looking equipment.

You know that the open glass box is an aeroclave. Next to it rests a heavy steel tank, a pressurized container of elemental air. A miasma gong hangs by the door.

You see a workroom to the east, and a very dark doorway to the west. A passage south leads to more of the medical wing, but a fracture blocks it.

You can see a crusty scalpel and an impet of eucalyptus oil here.

The sense of detachment fades away. The reality of the world reasserts itself.

>take all
crusty scalpel: Taken.
impet of eucalyptus oil: Taken.


Huh, lots of stuff here. Unfortunately, most of it is immobile and therefore of limited use to us, especially since the door, such as it is, locked behind us.

>x scalpel
It's a discarded alloy scalpel, never cleaned after whatever no-doubt-revolting dissection last employed it. Unnamable substances are crusted on the blade.

>x gong
The gong is a bronze disk, no larger than a dinner plate, but thick as your thumb. It is suspended in a frame on the wall. You're told that its sound helps drive away the evil miasmas that cause infection; at least, any time you've been in here, an attendant has struck the gong regularly.

>x aeroclave
The aeroclave is an enclosed glass chamber, with a gasketed panel on top. This device is used to sterilize medical instruments in a stream of elemental air -- quite sufficient to dissolve away blood, grease, disease, or any other vestige of living matter. A hose runs from the nearby tank to the base of the chamber; the coupling bears a large brass knob.

The panel stands open, but the aeroclave chamber is empty.


But that doesn't mean we can't use them anyway!

>put scalpel in aeroclave
You put the crusty scalpel into the aeroclave.

>close panel
You push the glass panel closed. It takes a bit of force, due to the tight gaskets.

>turn knob
You twist the knob, and elemental air hisses into the chamber. You can see the jet swirling behind the glass, almost invisible, like ripples in water.

The filth on the crusty scalpel erodes away in the elemental air! The metal soons shines clean.

You release the knob, and the flow of air shuts off.

>open panel
You pull the aeroclave open. An ozoney whiff of elemental air drifts out; your nose prickles.

>take scalpel
Taken.

>x scalpel
It's an alloy scalpel, polished clean if not exactly sharp.


Yeah! Now we're ready to perform the surgery!

>e
Medical Workroom
This side room is equipped for routine medical workings. You see a white workbench with a ritual bound and gestalt shelf. The only exit is back west.

You see a small clay disk on the floor. It looks like another reverse mold -- this one is for Aithery File.

You also notice a fist-sized glass bubble with a valve on it.

You can also see a ragged sheet and a narrow sheet here.

>take all
ragged sheet: "MUSANTE'S INSCRIPTION, or THE PROPHYLACTIC SCALPEL: This token serves to neutralize malevolent auras and other dangerous psychic manifestations. Begin by placing a knife within the arc; the environment should be confused by a strong aroma. Invoke the Ka Sealing. Speak a word of essential nature; remove the contaminating aroma; conclude with the Binding of Antipathy. To use the inscription, wave the blade within a field of cleansing vibration."

You memorize the instructions, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.
narrow sheet: You pick up the sheet. It details a formula: a Major Animus -- similar to the Minor Animus, but capable of directly manipulating physical objects rather than merely guiding their movements.

You memorize the information, including the Major Animus. You also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.
Aithery File clay mold: You pick up the Aithery File clay mold.
scratched bubble: Taken.


And by surgery I mean ritual, of course. If you attempt it with the scum still on the scalpel it fails in a fashion not really worth outlining.

>put scalpel in bound
You put the clean scalpel into the workbench bound.

>open eucalyptus
You pop open the impet, and the eucalyptus aroma rolls out, soapy and bitter.

>speak ka
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the Ka Sealing.

The arc begins to glow palely around the clean scalpel.

>speak essential
You intone the word of essential nature. The metallic nature of the scalpel rises to the surface.

>close eucalyptus
You snap the eucalyptus impet closed. Its aroma fades.

>speak antipathy
You begin invoking the Binding of Antipathy, forcing out the bitter phrases.

After several long minutes of chanting, the pale light flares and goes out. The scalpel now carries a symbol of prophylaxis.

>take
(the clean scalpel)
You pick up the clean scalpel, careful of its inscribed prophylaxis symbol.


This is how we leave this area now that we have almost everything we need from it. (I did forget to check the Medical Workroom for sparks, but don't worry, we'll almost certainly be coming back here. You really don't have everything you need to clear the game in a single run.)

>w
Medical Wing
This would be a waiting room, were it not as cluttered as every other part of the medical wing. The uncomfortable-looking chairs are outnumbered by the obscure-looking equipment.

You know that the open glass box is an aeroclave. Next to it rests a heavy steel tank, a pressurized container of elemental air. A miasma gong hangs by the door.

You see a workroom to the east, and a very dark doorway to the west. A passage south leads to more of the medical wing, but a fracture blocks it.

>fill bubble with aeroclave
The bubble cannot be filled with anything but air.

>fill bubble with tank
You press the bubble onto the needle valve. The valve emits a sharp, rising hiss; you can just see the jet of elemental air, like a heat-ripple inside the scratched bubble. After a few seconds, the valve shuts off, and you remove the fully-charged bubble. The pressure within gives it a heavy appearance, like clear oil.


This is the only other thing left to take. That gives us three of our four elements (Aristotelian ones, anyway).

>wave scalpel
You wave the scalpel around. The aura cloud doesn't seem to be perturbed at all.

>strike gong
You strike the gong with your knuckles. A deep reverberation fills the room. You're not sure if it's making you healthier, but it's certainly pleasant. However, the sense of malice around the door doesn't shift at all.

The gong continues to resonate.

>wave scalpel
You wave the scalpel.

The air ripples -- the gong's resonance beats like sea-waves in your ears as the motion of the scalpel roils around you. The cloud of malice shivers, shrinks, and fades, leaving only a trace of impotent hatred in the air.

The gong continues to resonate.


Every home should have a miasma gong, even if they're kind of a luxury.

>n
The door feels quite ordinary now. You walk through without any fuss.

Behind you, the sound of the gong fades, and the aura-cloud comes rushing back in all its hunger. You quickly step away from the doorway.

Medical Wing Hallway
This short corridor leads to the medical wing, whose entrance is south.

The alloy cabinet on the wall is open.

A disquieting sense of menace radiates from the open door to the south.

>
You make your way to the Pyrics Lab.

Pyrics Lab
Waves of heat fill this room, radiating from a massive brick kiln and the roaring gas burners that fire it.

The lab door to the south is open. A storage area lies to the east.

A table at the other end of the room supports a glass vapor crock. The crock is open; it contains a splinter of blackwood.

You also see a jar of cedar splints on the table. Next to this are three splints of assorted woods: swamp pith, green linden, and maple.

>put aithery in kiln
You push the Aithery File clay mold into the kiln's heat; but you have to yank your hand away instantly.


Anyway, we got the Aithery mold, so we can open that cabinet in the Officers' quarters now. Just gotta do a quick bit of pyrics...

>put lead on aithery
You push the lead Venture File seal onto the Aithery File clay mold, amid the heat; but you have to yank your hand away instantly.

The lead melts immediately, filling the Aithery File mold.

>take lead
You can barely come near the kiln's opening. Reaching inside is impossible.

>create fire potion
You brew a bottle of fire-resistance potion.

(You are now in the Pyrics Store.)

>drink fire potion
You swallow the cloudy potion. The liquid leaves your mouth feeling slightly numb. Within moments, you feel a prickle in your skin; your hands go cold and stiff, like a long walk on a chilly autumn day.

>w
Pyrics Lab
Waves of heat fill this room, radiating from a massive brick kiln and the roaring gas burners that fire it.

The lab door to the south is open. A storage area lies to the east.

Within the kiln, half-obscured by rippling heat, you can see an Aithery File clay mold.

A table at the other end of the room supports a glass vapor crock. The crock is open; it contains a splinter of blackwood.

You also see a jar of cedar splints on the table. Next to this are three splints of assorted woods: swamp pith, green linden, and maple.

>take lead
You lift the Aithery File clay mold, and blow on the lead until it cools a bit. Then you dump the seal out into your palm. It's a pretty good impression of the Aithery File badge.


With the fracture walling off most of the Medical bay, we can safely ignore the Medical mold, I think.

>
You make your way to the Deck Suite.

Deck Suite
This looks like a comfortable place to drink tea. It must be a lounge set aside for the deck officers -- the three important enough to rate private staterooms. The Venture door to the north is closed; the Aithery door (east) and the Alchemy door (south) are both open.

A locked cabinet hangs on the wall.

>open cabinet with lead
You touch the lead Aithery File seal to the cabinet, and the lock snaps calmly open.

Your fingers begin to buzz with returning circulation.

>open cabinet
You open the cabinet, revealing a folded sheet and a ripped sheet.

>take sheets
folded sheet: The paper has a description of two vowel-heavy formulae, the Mediate Anima and the Relative Anima. Both are concerned with relations between moving objects.

You memorize the information, including the two formulae. You also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.
ripped sheet: "TROUTMAN'S INSCRIPTION, to INCREASE THE WEIGHT OF LEAD: (This unusual ritual derives from the Subcontinent, but we translate it into European terms.) Create an anchored (Saturnine) environment. Place any common bit of stone into the bound, and invoke a simple sealing. Add a resinous note to the atmosphere; speak a word of essential nature; add a measure of Gaian precipitate. Conclude with the Binding of the Celestial Sphere, to align the alchemical axis (Earth-Saturn, low-high) with the mundane axis of gravitation."

You memorize the instructions, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.

Your fingers are tingling.


Hm, couple of anima, that's nice. Increasing the weight of lead, though... that sounds just as out of reach as the clock tincture, and even less useful to us right now.

>rooms
Since the accident, you have visited these notable locations:

the Secondary Alchemy Lab
the Mech Lab Crawlspace
the Void
the Herbarium Nook
the Chymic Lab
the Mechanica Lab
the Materials Store
the Opticks Lab
the Opticks Annex
the Pyrics Lab
the Pyrics Store
the Main Store
the Storage Nook
the Library
the Lab Wing Hallway
the Nave
the Airlock
the Medical Wing
the Medical Workroom
the Portico
Junior Quarters
the Deck Suite
the High Tower
the Master Rector's Quarters
the Study Room
the Under Ward
the Scaphe Arcade
the Exoscaphe
the Paper Garden
the Grand Stair, Top
the Grand Stair, Bottom
the Burning Hall West
the Edge of Chasm
the Deep Stacks
the Confusing Cracks
The following rooms still need to be checked with the oculus for sparks:
the Medical Workroom


Your fingers are no longer tingling. The potion must have worn off.

>things
Since the accident, you have found (or created) these (portable) items:

three potion bottles (breath holding, fire resistance, and fungicide)
nine chymic flasks (saline, rubbing alcohol, mineral oil, muriatic acid, vitriolic acid, vinegar, lubanja, alum, and sand)
five impets of essential oil (ginger, peppermint, citronelle, kelp, and eucalyptus)
six metal rods (lead, platinum, nickel, moon-metal, orichalcum, and phlogisticated gold (with elemental fire))
six stone chips (granite, sandstone, flint, basalt, marble, and obsidian)
seven wooden splints (elemental wood, cedar, maple, winter-oak, blackwood, green linden, and swamp pith)
three chimes (bronze F-sharp, glass G-flat, and glass H)
four clay molds (for Medical, Alchemy, Aithery, and Venture Files)
three seals (lead Aithery, lead Venture, and rutilum Alchemy)
a scratched bubble
a shard of elemental earth
a brass pin
a steel bolt
a length of silver chain
a length of silk cord
a glass loop
a concave glass lens
a convex glass lens
a lump of rock salt
a fluorspar crystal
a long quartz prism
a broad quartz prism
a rough diamond
an iron bead
a length of platinum wire
a sprig of rosemary
a pinecone
a sprig of honeysuckle
a dried mushroom
a chunk of coral
a pinch of mustard seed
a pinch of zafranum
a plain white feather
a lump of camphrost
a vial of bamuriatic acid
a torch-lighter
a clean scalpel
a dispersal brush
a resonant oculus
a planetary lens
a lodestone of purity
a brass coin
a silver coin
a horn coin
a measuring block
an ivory bead
a Chinese amulet
a rotor card
a pair of tarnished calipers
a thick key
a porcelain paten
a labyrinth tile


>doors
You have yet to deal with the following locked doors and barriers:

the Secondary Alchemy Lab door
the Chymic Lab door
the Opticks closet door
the Deck Suite Venture door
the Tertiary Lab door
the Airlock outer door
the Portico main doors
the North Arcade marble door
the Exoscaphe hatch
the Observatory door
the Birdhouse door
the obsidian door
the Barosy gate
the South Chasm bridge
the Storage Nook cabinet
the High Tower cabinet
eleven fractures


>rituals
You have learned twenty-six rituals: (* marks rituals you have not yet completed)

lead weight increase inscription (*)
prophylactic scalpel inscription
aura imitation inscription (with quartz) (*)
lodestone of centrality creation (*)
perfect mud synthesis (*)
bamuriatic acid synthesis
clock tincture synthesis (*)
metal attractor inscription (*)
glass permeability inscription (*)
electrum phlogistication (*)
aura invisibility inscription (*)
aura impermeability inscription
gold ignition
breath-holding synthesis
planetary lens creation
aura imitation inscription (with jade) (*)
dispersal brush creation
lodestone of purity creation
fire-resistance synthesis
resonant oculus creation
fungicide synthesis
universal tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin)
doubled rust cleansing inscription (with the steel bolt)
doubled tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin) (*)
basic rust cleansing inscription (with the steel bolt)
basic tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin)


>formulas
You know an impressive list of alchemical formulae:

a Mediate Anima
a Relative Anima
a Major Animus
the Mithraic Sealing
a symmetric sequence
an antisymmetric sequence
the Sealing of Shamash
an isomorphic group
an idempotent group
a word of anaphylaxis
the Ka Sealing
the Binding of the Celestial Sphere
a phlegmatic sealing word
the Chi Binding
the Crystalline Tempering
the Anodyne Evocation
a Minor Animus
a resonant tone
a syllable of counterbalance
a word of entension
a word of culmination
the Hermetic Sealing
the Binding of Antipathy
the categorical imperative
the Lesser Phlogistical Saturation
an elementary word of binding
a word of essential nature
a simple sealing word
an unsealing mantra


>facts
You have picked up assorted facts:

the store safe combination
the electrum substitution
the spiritual environment
the white-fuse challenge
the exhilarant environment
the recursive metaphor technique
the Cold Crucible gossip
the periodic table of stone
the Birdhouse defensive stricture
the nature of aura clouds
musical theory
the percalcination procedure
the elemental earth loan
a lecture on potions
a lecture on gestalt shelves
the copper calcination demonstration
the crawlway access combination
the catalytic environment
the work assignment
the resinous note
a lecture on aromas


People:

>recall anderes
You recall Lieutenant Jana Anderes -- a tall woman with dark hair and a long pale face -- which is usually bent into a sour shape, contemplating the misdeeds of Alchemy-file ensigns such as yourself. Maybe she's more pleasant company off-duty; you'd hardly know. You've only usually seen her in her storerooms, stalking the shelves and begrudging every teaspoon of an alchemist's request.

You last saw Lt Anderes in the Secondary Lab Crawlspace, caught in a fracture.

>recall ctesc
You recall Ensign Sydney Ctesc. He is Alchemy-file, like you; you often see him around the labs. You don't know him well; he's quiet, not to mention a year your senior. He's short and moon-faced, somehow with shaggy hair despite the marcher haircut.

You last saw Ensign Ctesc in the Main Store, caught in a fracture.

>recall powes
You recall Lieutenant Michael Powes: a beanstalk of a man, fair-skinned, with deep-set eyes that always reminded you of a hungry snake. He's Aithery-file, a junior Observatory officer; he spends his days over on the far side of the marcher where you rarely go.

You last saw Lt Powes at the Top of the Grand Stair, caught in a fracture.

>recall hart
You recall Captain Hart: a dark, burly woman. Her head is shaved clean, and set off by a gleaming, not-quite-regulation gold earring. Ensigns walk in fear of being noticed by her. She looks like she could pick up an errant scrubbie and throw him off the Retort -- probably with one hand. (Not true, of course. She'd just frown and a lieutenant would do it for her.)

You last saw Captain Hart in Officer Country, caught in a fracture.


So, I'm going to be using the breath potion next update to explore, among other things, the flooded crawlspace under the Exoscaphe Arcade. That said, expending the orichalcum usually heralds a reset, as that one bit is all the marcher has, and it's a component, direct or otherwise, for a lot of very important rituals. So be ready for us to have a lot of possibilities to work with!

Next Time: Elemental water

Last edited by Kalir; 08-21-2015 at 02:22 PM.
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  #26  
Old 08-21-2015, 07:54 AM
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Mr Bean Mr Bean is offline
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Just a thought -- does looking at all the crazy black scrawls on the wall through our oculii tell us anything? They seem too regular to just be scorch marks or something random.
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  #27  
Old 08-21-2015, 02:20 PM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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>
You make your way to the Lab Hall Northwest.

Lab Hall Northwest
The laboratory hallway runs east and south from this junction. Another corridor runs west, towards the rest of the marcher.

To the north, the door to the Main Store is open.

Someone has scrawled graffiti on the wall here. The black marks are curiously twisted; they hint at meaning, but you cannot read them.

>x marks through oculus
The symbolic associations of the black marks are as unfamiliar as the script itself.

>x marks through lens
When viewed through the planetary lens, the black marks are blurred and indistinct.


Well, that still told us something, but nothing immediately useful. Whatever these weird things are, they're almost totally alien.

>
You make your way to the Scaphe Arcade.

Scaphe Arcade
You are in a pleasant red-brick gallery edged by a row of wooden columns. A heavy steel portal in the west wall is the access to the marcher's exoscaphe. It's standing open. A valve wheel is mounted next to the portal.

The arcade runs north towards an overlook window. There is a corridor to the east. You also see a crawlway hatch in the floor; it's open, but it seems to be flooded.

You notice a small brass cube lying by a column.

>x cube
It's a tiny brass measuring block, meant for a balance scale. The number "27" is engraved on one face, along with a mark certifying precision.

>take
(the measuring block)
Taken.


Anyway, today we're actually gonna use this friggin' breath potion if it kills me. OR YOU.

>drink breath
You swallow the clear potion. The liquid burns icily down your throat, and then settles as a cold heaviness in your lungs.

>d
You jump into the chilly water. The potion seems to be working -- you feel no urge to breathe.

Elemental fire burns underwater, it seems; the phlogisticated gold rod bubbles and sputters away furiously.

On top of that, the zafranum and the bundle of paper dissolve.

Arcade Crawlspace, Flooded
This crawlway runs north and south -- or it did, before it collapsed and flooded. Now you are floating in not-very-clean water, weakly illuminated by a few remaining sophic lamps.

To the south, the crawlway runs into murky darkness, out of sight. The way north is blocked by fallen beams. The hatch -- and air -- is a rippling patch of light overhead.

A glint of bronze is visible in the debris. It looks like another chime -- B natural, if you're not mistaken.


Whoops. Pretend I undid that and dropped the zafranum before diving, k?

>take chime
(the bronze B chime)
Taken.

>s
You kick downwards and pull yourself along the crawlway. The passage is cramped and claustrophobic, and even with the potion, your chest feels tight. But you soon see light ahead, and an open hatch becomes visible above you.

Observatory Crawlspace, Flooded
You are floating in the submerged crawlway, which runs back to the north. Another collapse blocks further passage south. A hatchway above gives access to the open air.

>u
You pull yourself out of the water.

Observatory
You have found your way into the observatory, the Retort's guiding eye. The dome overhead is set with windows, and each window shows a different sky and a different array of stars.

One level above you, an ironwork bridge crosses the dome, north to south. A ladder descends at either end, but only one of the two is lowered, and that one is obstructed by a fracture that cuts off the north side of the dome. The south-side ladder is folded up under the bridge; its counterweight hangs near the floor.

The door to the east is closed. Open alcoves to the north and south house additional equipment, but again, the north side is fracture-blocked. You also see the flooded crawlway hatch at your feet.

In the center of the chamber, beneath the bridge, stands the compass pedestal with its capsule of elemental water.

Swabbies aren't allowed in here... You must be getting sneaky, kid.


Hooray, the Observatory! And just like every other spot on the marcher, it's deserted. Which means there's nothing to stop me from, among other things, just letting myself in and out as I please.

>x door
The door is painted plain grey on this side, matching the walls. It is closed and locked, but the latch is on this side -- you could just pull it open from here.

>e
(first unlocking and opening the painted door, from this side)

Paper Garden
The garden is the marcher's refuge of meditation and calm. Paper paths wind among beds of paper flowers; the walls are hung with paper trees beneath a calm blue-painted ceiling. A tiny brick-lined pool lies at the garden's center. The place isn't large, but it doesn't feel small. You've always liked it.

An opening to the north leads back to the Retort's main corridor, and another south to the lower reaches. To the east, a paper arch gives entry to the paper hedge maze. The observatory door to the west is open.


Take THAT, tastefully veiled maidens! And while we're here...

>x pool
The pool is only eight feet across. It's trimmed with tiny, neat bricks -- no doubt to make the pool look bigger. Its importance is mostly symbolic, after all. But somehow, you can't make out the bottom from here.

>d
You jump into the chilly water. The potion is still working -- you feel no urge to breathe.

Elemental fire burns underwater, it seems; the phlogisticated gold rod bubbles and sputters away furiously.

Garden Pool
You are floating in a well, eight feet across and perhaps ten feet deep. The water is cold and still. The water's surface is a sheet of light above you, and the base of the well is a circle of darkness below.

In the center of the darkness you see a darker hole. It's an opening in the floor below you, a narrow shaft running downward out of sight.

>d
You haul yourself further downwards, into the channel.

Bottom of Shaft
You are at the bottom of a narrow vertical submerged shaft. Little light reaches you, and the water is icy cold.

At the very bottom of the shaft is a mud-covered slab. Its surface is irregular, but the mud is too thick to make out what's carved there.

The heavy sensation in your lungs begins to fade.


Well, I want to see what's on the slab, but not badly enough to risk drowning. Let's back off and get another potion.

>u
You launch yourself towards the surface.

You pull yourself out of the water.

Paper Garden
The garden is the marcher's refuge of meditation and calm. Paper paths wind among beds of paper flowers; the walls are hung with paper trees beneath a calm blue-painted ceiling. A tiny brick-lined pool lies at the garden's center. The place isn't large, but it doesn't feel small. You've always liked it.

An opening to the north leads back to the Retort's main corridor, and another south to the lower reaches. To the east, a paper arch gives entry to the paper hedge maze. The observatory door to the west is open.

>create breath
You make your way to the Nave.
You brew a bottle of breath-holding potion.

(You are now in the Nave.)

The heavy sensation in your lungs is dissipating.

>
You make your way to the Paper Garden.
Your lungs feel nearly normal again.

Paper Garden
The garden is the marcher's refuge of meditation and calm. Paper paths wind among beds of paper flowers; the walls are hung with paper trees beneath a calm blue-painted ceiling. A tiny brick-lined pool lies at the garden's center. The place isn't large, but it doesn't feel small. You've always liked it.

An opening to the north leads back to the Retort's main corridor, and another south to the lower reaches. To the east, a paper arch gives entry to the paper hedge maze. The observatory door to the west is open.

You suddenly realize that you haven't breathed in ten minutes. You suck in a startling gasp of air.

>drink breath
You swallow the clear potion. The liquid burns icily down your throat, and then settles as a cold heaviness in your lungs.

>d
You jump into the chilly water. The potion is still working -- you feel no urge to breathe.

Elemental fire burns underwater, it seems; the phlogisticated gold rod bubbles and sputters away furiously.

Garden Pool
You are floating in a well, eight feet across and perhaps ten feet deep. The water is cold and still. The water's surface is a sheet of light above you, and the base of the well is a circle of darkness below.

In the center of the darkness you see a darker hole. It's an opening in the floor below you, a narrow shaft running downward out of sight.

>d
You haul yourself further downwards, into the channel.

Bottom of Shaft
You are at the bottom of a narrow vertical submerged shaft. Little light reaches you, and the water is icy cold.

At the very bottom of the shaft is a mud-covered slab. Its surface is irregular, but the mud is too thick to make out what's carved there.

>x slab
The mud on the slab is dimpled irregularly. You cannot tell what's beneath, however.


Hm... let's just try the good ol' elbow grease ritual. Should be no trouble, that was my best ritual working under the Sarge!

>scrub slab
You brush at the mud, trying not to stir it up into the water around you. Letters come into view, neat enough to read even in this murky light.

>x slab
A word is carved on the slab. You have never seen it, but you have an unspoken sense: it is the word of emulgence, the one mentioned in the mud synthesis. A word of blending.

You memorize the word of emulgence.

>u
You launch yourself towards the surface.

You pull yourself out of the water.

Paper Garden
The garden is the marcher's refuge of meditation and calm. Paper paths wind among beds of paper flowers; the walls are hung with paper trees beneath a calm blue-painted ceiling. A tiny brick-lined pool lies at the garden's center. The place isn't large, but it doesn't feel small. You've always liked it.

An opening to the north leads back to the Retort's main corridor, and another south to the lower reaches. To the east, a paper arch gives entry to the paper hedge maze. The observatory door to the west is open.


Nice. We can now make the perfect mud, but before we do that, we haven't fully explored the Observatory.

>w
Observatory
This is the observatory, the Retort's guiding eye. The dome overhead is set with windows, and each window shows a different sky and a different array of stars.

One level above you, an ironwork bridge crosses the dome, north to south. A ladder descends at either end, but only one of the two is lowered, and that one is obstructed by a fracture that cuts off the north side of the dome. The south-side ladder is folded up under the bridge; its counterweight hangs near the floor.

The door to the east is open. Open alcoves to the north and south house additional equipment, but again, the north side is fracture-blocked. You also see the flooded crawlway hatch at your feet.

In the center of the chamber, beneath the bridge, stands the compass pedestal with its capsule of elemental water.

>x compass
The compass is a slender pedestal topped by a circular screen of white fused quartz. A capsule of elemental water is suspended above it.

The capsule is supposed to focus the light of the stars onto the screen, to indicate the Retort's location. But the screen is blank.


Well, waste not.

>take water
(the capsule of elemental water)
You pull the elemental water away from the compass. It resists for a moment, then comes free.

>x ladder
The ladder is folded up under the bridge, a good eight feet above you. You recall hearing in marcher-gossip that it's been jammed for weeks; it's a running joke that the single ladder on the north side has had to serve the entire bridge crew. But that option is closed to you, now.

>x counterweight
The counterweight is a massive block of lead. It hangs from the bridge, at the end of a steel cable.


Hm... well, our lead weight increasing ritual would work here, I think? I don't know exactly how heavy it makes it, but I bet we could break the cable and make every single theatre employer I've had cringe in horror.

>s
Observatory Alcove, South
This alcove houses the magnificent Horological Calculator -- a complex machine whose controls include an armillary sphere, a dial, and a slot. There's a blank tin slip in the slot.

Two papers, a coarse sheet and a delicate sheet, have been discarded here.

>take papers
delicate sheet: "THE SYNTHESIS of SUBLIME SPIRIT (the eighth distilled essence of mineral oil): Place mineral oil and nickel into a retort. (Thin pieces of nickel are best, as the surface area must be large.) Invoke the sealing, followed by a word of entension (to prevent the oil from igniting). Introduce elemental fire into the retort to begin the distillation. You may then easily extract the desired fractions."

You memorize the instructions, and also pick up the sheet. Just in case.
coarse sheet: "THE SYNTHESIS of VIRIDIGRIS (the lower oxide of orichalcum): This process is quite simple. Place orichalcum and vinegar into a retort; apply the Hermetic sealing. Heat until the vinegar just begins to boil, and then invoke the Phlogistical Catalysis."

You memorize the instructions, including the Phlogistical Catalysis. You also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.

The heavy sensation in your lungs begins to fade.


Nice! This was the last piece of the clock tincture puzzle here, the sublime spirit. And we also now know how to create viridigris, so once we reset we can use that in some of those other rituals, like the lodestone of centrality.

>x calculator
This majestic piece of machinery is intended to condense heavenly observations into a portable form. You've used the result -- small slips of tin engraved with the equivalent of dozens of astronomical ephemera; they're crucial for certain very precise sorts of alchemical operations. But you've never used the Calculator itself. That's Aithery work.

The Calculator is the size of a large console desk. The upper surface is dominated by an armillary sphere, or rather a nested set of spheres: gleaming brass orbits and cycles, balanced to follow the movements of the visible stars. On the front is a smaller dial, surrounded by the marks of the Greek alphabet, to which it can be set. Next to the dial is a tiny slot.

A tin slip rests in the slot, ready for engraving.

>x sphere
The Calculator contains eight nested brass spheres, supported in delicate armillary gears. The spheres are piercework, of course, so that you can see down to the center; each is engraved with orbits, stars, nebulae, and the other landmarks of the heavens. By adjusting the Calculator, you can match the spheres up to the observatory's environment... or at least, a trained Aithery pilot could.

Each sphere is marked with a scale in Greek letters. From the outside in, the spheres are aligned at gamma, pi, sigma, tau, alpha, kappa, xi, theta.

However, the patterns marked on the spheres don't seem to match the visible heavens at all.


Oooh, cool. So at present, we don't really know where we are, but if we had the right Aithery knowhow, we could configure this enough to figure that much out, which... I guess helps? Knowing where we are doesn't mean much in a vacuum, especially if we can't leave and go to a populated area.

But hey, it's there if we want it.

>
You make your way to the Chymic Lab.
The heavy sensation in your lungs is dissipating.

Chymic Lab
This wide room is dominated by a huge glass retort. You've practiced many chymical rituals in this apparatus. Hanging above the retort is an instructional sign.

The lab door to the east is closed. The only other exit is the hatch in the floor, which is open.

Your lungs feel nearly normal again.


Okay, let's get that clock tincture made. First we gotta get that perfect mud.

>put sand in retort
You pour a measure of sand into the retort.

You suddenly realize that you haven't breathed in ten minutes. You suck in a startling gasp of air.

>speak hermetic
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the Hermetic Sealing.

The retort's equator begins to glow pearl-grey around the reservoir of sand.

>speak crystalline
You recite the Crystalline Tempering. The sand shifts subtly within the reservoir, grains aligning on inner axes.

>x water
A delicate capsule, no longer than your thumb, full of elementally pure water.

>put water in retort
You crack open the capsule, and pour the elemental water into the retort. The drops sparkle on the sand; then they are absorbed. The elemental water seems to moisten the sand more than those few drops could warrant -- the retort now contains a watery slurry of sand.

>speak entension
You declaim the word of entension. The world seems to hold its breath.

>put earth in retort
You drop the shard of elemental earth into the retort. The bound's pearly light ripples.

The shard seems to fall apart the moment it touches the surface. A shower of crystalline dust spreads across the sand, and a slow upwelling current begins, like a tiny pool of quicksand within the retort.

>speak emulgence
You intone the word of emulgence; it feels creamy on your tongue.

Circulating within the retort, the sand begins to dissolve. Its color darkens to a beige, then to tan, as the grains roll themselves finer and finer. After several more moments, the water and sand have resolved themselves to a silky brown sediment.

The upwelling current ceases, and the bound goes dark. You extract the perfect mud into a fresh vial.

>x mud
This vial contains a bit of thick, richly-brown sediment.


Noice. Next up is the sublime spirit, but before we do that...

>x nickel
A small rod of nickel, a pale-gold metal.

>
You make your way to the Mechanica Lab.

Mechanica Lab
This workshop features two of the more mundane devices of the alchemist's life: a hand-cranked wire-drawer, and the wire-splicer wheel.

The lab door to the north is open. The crawlway hatch is open. You also see a small storeroom to the west.

A clean cabinet is fastened to the wall. It is open, but empty.


The ritual said a thin piece to maximize surface area, and I dunno if that rod will work. Let's wire it.

>put nickel in drawer
You slide the nickel rod into the groove, ready to be drawn into the device.

>turn crank
You begin hauling on the crank, and the nickel rod is slowly drawn into the device. It's terrible work -- nickel isn't a soft metal -- but you throw your weight on it, and soon wire begins spooling out onto the counter.

After several minutes of sweat, sore hands, and metallic creaking noises, the rod is entirely consumed. The nickel wire falls free, into a loose coil.

>take
(the length of nickel wire)
Taken.


FLEXIN'.

>
You make your way to the Chymic Lab.

Chymic Lab
This wide room is dominated by a huge glass retort. You've practiced many chymical rituals in this apparatus. Hanging above the retort is an instructional sign.

The lab door to the east is closed. The only other exit is the hatch in the floor, which is open.

>put oil, nickel in retort
Which do you mean, the impet of eucalyptus oil, the impet of kelp oil, the flask of mineral oil, the impet of citronelle oil, the impet of ginger oil, or the impet of peppermint oil?

>mineral
flask of mineral oil: You pour a measure of mineral oil into the retort.
length of nickel wire: You feed the length of nickel wire into the retort, where it lies in a coil.

>speak hermetic
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the Hermetic Sealing.

The retort's equator begins to glow pearl-grey around the length of nickel wire and the reservoir of mineral oil.

>put gold in retort
You drop the flaming phlogisticated gold rod into the retort. The bound's pearly light ripples.

The nickel glows red where the elemental flame touches it. Then orange, then yellow -- and then the oil ignites, an ugly boil of smoke that splatters molten nickel across the inside of the retort.

When the smoke clears, the oil has been reduced to a greasy brown paste, and the gold rod is extinguished.


BOOM! Haha okay now let's actually remember the entension word this time.

>undo
Chymic Lab
[Previous turn undone.]

>speak entension
You declaim the word of entension. The world seems to hold its breath.

>put gold in retort
You drop the flaming phlogisticated gold rod into the retort. The bound's pearly light ripples.

The nickel glows red where the elemental flame touches it -- then orange, then yellow. You wince, expecting the oil to ignite at any moment; but it does not. Instead, the nickel slowly liquifies into a shining metal pool. The oil shimmers and ripples above it.

Pale vapors rise within the retort -- the volatile fractions of the oil. They condense on the inner surface of the glass. Minute droplets gather and flow downwards. When they reach the release valve, you tap the sublime spirit into a fresh vial.

When you have extracted all the fractions you need, you pull the dump lever. The greasy remains of the oil and nickel are washed away. The gold rod -- dephlogisticated and cool now -- falls into your hand.

>x sublime
Sublime spirit is the eighth distilled essence of mineral oil. It is a good solvent of substances which resist water.


Nice. I don't know for certain, but I think this would have also worked on the Medical Wing cabinet, like the bamuriatic acid. I know discharging the elemental air on it works too, that's how I solved that puzzle the first time I played.

>x cube through oculus
When viewed through the oculus, the measuring block displays an orderly nature.

>
You make your way to the Nave.

Nave
The Nave is the marcher's heart, though the rows of benches are empty now. The seats face a pedestal, on which is a ritual bound and shelf. The side walls boast symbolic frescos; the south wall is a high, ornamented metal mesh -- the writ screen -- which separates the Nave from the Chancel.

A mural has been defaced with more of those twisted black marks.

The main corridors run east and west from here, and the Retort's entry hall is north.

>recall shamash
The Sealing of Shamash creates a boundary circle. It comes from a Babylonian ritual tradition, where it is associated with order, the calendar, and clockwork. You didn't know the Babylonians had clockwork, but that's what the textbook said.


Anyway, we now have literally everything we need to make us a clock tincture, and we sure as hell intend to do it!

>put cube on shelf
You put the measuring block on the gestalt shelf.

>put alum in bound
You locate a beaker in the clutter, pour a measure of alum into it, and place it within the pedestal bound.

>x alum
(the flask of alum)
Alum is a white, astringent powder.

>speak shamash
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the Sealing of Shamash.

The arc begins to glow smoke-grey around the beaker of alum.

>put mud in beaker
You empty the vial of perfect mud into the beaker. The alum absorbs the moisture, and the substances merge into a pale, glittering paste.

>speak counterbalance
You speak the syllable of counterbalance. The paste roils gently in the beaker.

>put sublime in beaker
You dribble the sublime spirit into the beaker. The paste softens, shimmering, and liquifies into a translucent silvery solution.

>put brass in beaker
Which do you mean, the brass coin, the brass pin, the tarnished calipers, or the measuring block?

>coin
You drop the brass coin into the beaker. Plop! It lies at the bottom for a moment... and then in the next moment dissolves, all at once, lending the solution a brassy tinge.

>speak major
You voice the Major Animus, trying not to choke. As the clicks and pops roll on, the solution slowly darkens to a rich, brassy opacity. When you reach the final sound, the bound flashes bright silver, and the solution precipitates all at once -- glittery particles of brass, suspended in a dark tincture.

The bound fades. You lift the beaker, tilt it appreciately, and decant the tincture into a fresh bottle.

Cleverly done, kid.

>x tincture
This is a dark tincture flecked with minute, gleaming particles of brass. When poured into a clockwork mechanism, it will bring it into alignment or proper working order.


HELL YEAH, WE RULE.

The only problem with this is that making the clock tincture consumed a LOT of stuff we can't reproduce, so once we use it, we're definitely going for a reset. And I know where I intend to use it, so for now, what should we work on next time? I think the lodestone of centrality and the aura invisibility inscription are both on the table now. I think we're pretty close to the lead weight inscription too, we just need the Gaian precipitate (and I think I remember where to get it).

>rooms
Since the accident, you have visited these notable locations:

the Secondary Alchemy Lab
the Mech Lab Crawlspace
the Void
the Herbarium Nook
the Chymic Lab
the Mechanica Lab
the Materials Store
the Opticks Lab
the Opticks Annex
the Pyrics Lab
the Pyrics Store
the Main Store
the Storage Nook
the Library
the Lab Wing Hallway
the Nave
the Airlock
the Medical Wing
the Medical Workroom
the Portico
Junior Quarters
the Deck Suite
the High Tower
the Master Rector's Quarters
the Study Room
the Under Ward
the Scaphe Arcade
the Exoscaphe
the Paper Garden
the Observatory
the Grand Stair, Top
the Grand Stair, Bottom
the Burning Hall West
the Edge of Chasm
the Deep Stacks
the Confusing Cracks
The following rooms still need to be checked with the oculus for sparks:
the Medical Workroom


>things
Since the accident, you have found (or created) these (portable) items:

four potion bottles (breath holding, fire resistance, clock tincture, and fungicide)
three chymic vials (sublime spirit, bamuriatic acid, and perfect mud)
nine chymic flasks (saline, rubbing alcohol, mineral oil, muriatic acid, vitriolic acid, vinegar, lubanja, alum, and sand)
five impets of essential oil (ginger, peppermint, citronelle, kelp, and eucalyptus)
seven metal rods (lead, platinum, nickel, moon-metal, orichalcum, gold, and phlogisticated gold)
six stone chips (granite, sandstone, flint, basalt, marble, and obsidian)
seven wooden splints (elemental wood, cedar, maple, winter-oak, blackwood, green linden, and swamp pith)
four chimes (bronze F-sharp, bronze B, glass G-flat, and glass H)
four clay molds (for Medical, Alchemy, Aithery, and Venture Files)
three seals (lead Aithery, lead Venture, and rutilum Alchemy)
a scratched bubble
a shard of elemental earth
a capsule of elemental water
a brass pin
a steel bolt
a length of silver chain
a length of silk cord
a glass loop
a concave glass lens
a convex glass lens
a lump of rock salt
a fluorspar crystal
a long quartz prism
a broad quartz prism
a rough diamond
an iron bead
a length of platinum wire
a sprig of rosemary
a pinecone
a sprig of honeysuckle
a dried mushroom
a chunk of coral
a pinch of mustard seed
a pinch of zafranum
a plain white feather
a lump of camphrost
a torch-lighter
a clean scalpel
a dispersal brush
a resonant oculus
a planetary lens
a lodestone of purity
a brass coin
a silver coin
a horn coin
a measuring block
an ivory bead
a Chinese amulet
a rotor card
a blank tin slip
a pair of tarnished calipers
a thick key
a porcelain paten
a labyrinth tile


>doors
You have yet to deal with the following locked doors and barriers:

the Secondary Alchemy Lab door
the Chymic Lab door
the Opticks closet door
the Deck Suite Venture door
the Tertiary Lab door
the Airlock outer door
the Portico main doors
the North Arcade marble door
the Exoscaphe hatch
the Birdhouse door
the obsidian door
the Barosy gate
the Observatory ladder
the South Chasm bridge
the Storage Nook cabinet
the High Tower cabinet
twelve fractures


>rituals
You have learned twenty-eight rituals: (* marks rituals you have not yet completed)

viridigris synthesis (*)
sublime spirit synthesis
lead weight increase inscription (*)
prophylactic scalpel inscription
aura imitation inscription (with quartz) (*)
lodestone of centrality creation (*)
perfect mud synthesis
bamuriatic acid synthesis
clock tincture synthesis
metal attractor inscription (*)
glass permeability inscription (*)
electrum phlogistication (*)
aura invisibility inscription (*)
aura impermeability inscription
gold ignition
breath-holding synthesis
planetary lens creation
aura imitation inscription (with jade) (*)
dispersal brush creation
lodestone of purity creation
fire-resistance synthesis
resonant oculus creation
fungicide synthesis
universal tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin)
doubled rust cleansing inscription (with the steel bolt)
doubled tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin) (*)
basic rust cleansing inscription (with the steel bolt)
basic tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin)


>formulas
You know an impressive list of alchemical formulae:

the Phlogistical Catalysis
a word of emulgence
a Mediate Anima
a Relative Anima
a Major Animus
the Mithraic Sealing
a symmetric sequence
an antisymmetric sequence
the Sealing of Shamash
an isomorphic group
an idempotent group
a word of anaphylaxis
the Ka Sealing
the Binding of the Celestial Sphere
a phlegmatic sealing word
the Chi Binding
the Crystalline Tempering
the Anodyne Evocation
a Minor Animus
a resonant tone
a syllable of counterbalance
a word of entension
a word of culmination
the Hermetic Sealing
the Binding of Antipathy
the categorical imperative
the Lesser Phlogistical Saturation
an elementary word of binding
a word of essential nature
a simple sealing word
an unsealing mantra


>facts
You have picked up assorted facts:

the store safe combination
the electrum substitution
the spiritual environment
the white-fuse challenge
the exhilarant environment
the recursive metaphor technique
the Cold Crucible gossip
the periodic table of stone
the Birdhouse defensive stricture
the nature of aura clouds
musical theory
the percalcination procedure
the elemental earth loan
a lecture on potions
a lecture on gestalt shelves
the copper calcination demonstration
the crawlway access combination
the catalytic environment
the work assignment
the resinous note
a lecture on aromas


People:

>recall anderes
You recall Lieutenant Jana Anderes -- a tall woman with dark hair and a long pale face -- which is usually bent into a sour shape, contemplating the misdeeds of Alchemy-file ensigns such as yourself. Maybe she's more pleasant company off-duty; you'd hardly know. You've only usually seen her in her storerooms, stalking the shelves and begrudging every teaspoon of an alchemist's request.

You last saw Lt Anderes in the Secondary Lab Crawlspace, caught in a fracture.

>recall ctesc
You recall Ensign Sydney Ctesc. He is Alchemy-file, like you; you often see him around the labs. You don't know him well; he's quiet, not to mention a year your senior. He's short and moon-faced, somehow with shaggy hair despite the marcher haircut.

You last saw Ensign Ctesc in the Main Store, caught in a fracture.

>recall powes
You recall Lieutenant Michael Powes: a beanstalk of a man, fair-skinned, with deep-set eyes that always reminded you of a hungry snake. He's Aithery-file, a junior Observatory officer; he spends his days over on the far side of the marcher where you rarely go.

You last saw Lt Powes at the Top of the Grand Stair, caught in a fracture.

>recall hart
You recall Captain Hart: a dark, burly woman. Her head is shaved clean, and set off by a gleaming, not-quite-regulation gold earring. Ensigns walk in fear of being noticed by her. She looks like she could pick up an errant scrubbie and throw him off the Retort -- probably with one hand. (Not true, of course. She'd just frown and a lieutenant would do it for her.)

You last saw Captain Hart in Officer Country, caught in a fracture.


Let's hear your thoughts, Forsyth Head Voices.

Next Time: Ephemeris billet
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  #28  
Old 08-21-2015, 07:56 PM
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Mogri Mogri is online now
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Looks like it's time to find the center of a labyrinth.
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  #29  
Old 08-22-2015, 03:09 PM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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>s
Observatory Alcove, South
This alcove houses the magnificent Horological Calculator -- a complex machine whose controls include an armillary sphere, a dial, and a slot. There's a blank tin slip in the slot.

>put tincture in calculator
You slowly pour the tincture into the guts of the Calculator. Just as slowly, the spheres begin to turn, until they are all aligned: zeta, rho, pi, omicron, iota, pi, beta, mu.

An escapement whirrs. The patterns on the spheres seem to match the stars arrayed around you, as far as you can tell. The blank tin slip is drawn into the Calculator.

After a brief cantata of rattles and clunking noises, the slip is ejected back into your hands, now imprinted with complex symbols. It is now an ephemeris billet, summarizing the heavenly coordinates you have set up.

>x billet
The strip of tin is now an ephemeris billet. It has been engraved with rows of minute symbols, indicating a particular confluence of the heavens from a particular vantage point in the Universe.


Getting right into it. Having the clock tincture means that basically any brass mechanism, we can auto-configure to the best possible state for us. There's not many on the marcher, but I used it here because, as with the lock combinations, we'll always remember this, and we can now create the ephemeris billet whenever we want.

>
You make your way to the Chymic Lab.

Chymic Lab
This wide room is dominated by a huge glass retort. You've practiced many chymical rituals in this apparatus. Hanging above the retort is an instructional sign.

The lab door to the east is closed. The only other exit is the hatch in the floor, which is open.

>recall fungicide synthesis
"A BANE for MUSHROOMS, LICHEN, and OTHER FUNGI: Prepare your chymic retort with mustard seed and a sample of fungus, in a saline bath. Seal; turn on burner, and heat to a gentle simmer. Invoke the Binding of Antipathy, thus attuning the mustard's toxic qualities to your sample. Decant."


Anyway, we plan to reset and create the lodestone of centrality, BUT we also have a few things we can solve before we reset. Both of them I know, for a fact, lead only to sheets, so we'll just get that info here and now.

>
You make your way to the Herbarium Nook.

Herbarium Nook
You are in the Retort's herb-house. (Odd to reach it from the sub-basement; you usually come here through the upper laboratory floor. But that's a marcher for you.) A short ladder leads up to the ceiling hatch through which you entered.

You seem to be trapped in the east corner of the greenhouse. The main space, with its trays of sun-lit herbs and vines, is blocked off by another fracture. Only a few bits of herbage remain within reach.

A shelf holds a small bin labelled "mustard seed". Next to the bin is a sprig of honeysuckle.

>take seed
You take another pinch of mustard seed from the bin.

>
You make your way to the Chymic Lab.

Chymic Lab
This wide room is dominated by a huge glass retort. You've practiced many chymical rituals in this apparatus. Hanging above the retort is an instructional sign.

The lab door to the east is closed. The only other exit is the hatch in the floor, which is open.

>put seed, saline, coral in retort
pinch of mustard seed: Done.
flask of saline: You pour a measure of saline into the retort.
chunk of coral: Done.


The plan here is simple. We needed a sample of fungus for the fungicide, so if we have a sample of coral, maybe we can come up with a coralicide. It's close enough for alchemy, right? (Taxonomists: how closely are fungus and coral related?)

>speak hermetic
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the Hermetic Sealing.

The retort's equator begins to glow pearl-grey around the chunk of coral, the pinch of mustard seed, and the reservoir of saline.

>turn on burner
You twist the knob. The gas burner hisses, and then bursts into flame.

The gas flame heats the saline.

>wait
Time passes.

The gas flame heats the saline.

>wait
Time passes.

The saline bubbles over the flame.

>speak antipathy
You begin invoking the Binding of Antipathy, forcing out the bitter phrases. Gradually the coral and the mustard seeds dissolve, and the saline solution acquires a rosy tint. Pink fumes begin to fill the retort.

When you finish choking out the formula, the liquid is bright pink in hue. You find an empty vial in the clutter and tap the potion from the retort. It has a bitter stink to it. With luck, this will act as a coralicide.

As an afterthought, you shut off the gas flame.

>x coralicide
This is a pink liquid, which appears to be fuming slightly in its bottle.


Good enough for the game. Let's get that paper.

>
You make your way to the Deep Stacks.

Deep Stacks
The tomes in these stacks are little-regarded treasures, or so the librarians tell you. For certain, though, a marcher never discards a book. The shelves are overstuffed.

The room is unfurnished; you see books and nothing beside. The only door is west. However, the south wall is split by a bulging yellow intrusion.

>put coralicide on coral
You splash the coralicide onto the outcrop. The yellow growth bubbles, pits, and shrivels.

You don't have enough potion to completely destroy the outcrop. But you manage to dissolve enough of a hole to free what was poking out: a stained sheet of paper.

>take paper
(the stained sheet)
"THE SYNTHESIS of GAIAN PRECIPITATE: This reagent is of great value in rituals pertaining to the Earth. Prepare your retort with a measure of vitriolic acid; place orichalcum therein. Invoke the sealing and raise the heat. When the metal dissolves, recite a symmetric sequence (the symmetry induces a positive connection to the Earth). Measure in alum until the solution turns violet; then add pure elemental earth and reduce to a powder."

You memorize the instructions, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.


Yep, told you we could get the Gaian precipitate easily enough.

>
You make your way to the High Tower.

High Tower
You have found Captain Hart's private quarters. In marcher lore (though never in the Captain's presence) this hallowed spot is called the High Tower. It looks disappointingly un-medieval, though: spartan decor, a bunk of regulation width and crispness.

Another cabinet hangs on the wall. This one has no seal or keyhole, but an alchemical symbol shines on the cover.

>x cabinet
The cabinet is a squarish compartment made of plate rutilum. (Fancy. Or perhaps practical; rutilum is supposed to have spiritual qualities.)

The cabinet is closed. The alchemical symbol for attraction shines on its surface.


Our next obstacle is right here. We've actually had the key for this one for ages, we just completely forgot about it because it seemed only there for mistakes.

>x brush
The brush is a white feather with an icy sheen.

>touch brush to cabinet
You brush the quill over the rutilum cabinet. The attraction symbol blurs and fades away.

>open cabinet
You open the cabinet, revealing an ornate sheet.


But no, you can also use it to handle this thing. And since it's not really hard to get the dispersal brush once you know what you're looking for, you can get access to this paper way early on.

>take sheet
(the ornate sheet)
This receipt is not Navy printing. It's hand-written; not neatly, perhaps in haste. And it reads like a bad joke.

"THE GREAT MARRIAGE..." (and there you stop for a moment, because half the alchemical rituals of antiquitity are bombastically called "the great marriage" and it means nothing more than "I mixed things" -- but that's what it says) "...must be performed at the Heart of the House, in an Orderly Environment." (...scribbled with an arrow: "?NAVE!") "...Employ the Marcher's Invocation to seal an empty Bound. Add a Signifier of the Marcher's Location to the Gestalt; waft a Resinous Note. Now add the Four Elements to the Bound, and invoke the Dragon."

Great Marriage? Classical Greek elements thrown into an arc like beans in soup? This isn't modern alchemical science; it's a fairy tale. It doesn't even say what it does.

No, wait, there's something scrawled on the back: "THE HOMUNCULUS." Sure, that clears everything up.

You memorize the instructions, including the Marcher's Sealing. You also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.

>what
[That's not an action I understand.]


Well, um. That's a thing. I don't know why an ancient alchemical hodgepodge of a mess someone scribbled in some kind of mad fever is sealed in the Captain's private cabinet, but there it is. On the other hand, the only issue that really seems to be a hurdle for us to complete it is invoking the Dragon, but who knows. Anyway!

>reset
You make your way back to the Void.

Void
You drift outside the world again.


*** You awaken again ***


(You hurry through the saturation ritual, un-rust the hatch, and open it.)

Secondary Alchemy Lab
The lab is unsettlingly dim, but familiar enough: rough wooden walls, the broad stone surface of the workbench. The lab door is to the north; it's closed.

Some kind of fracture blocks the east side of the room from you.

On a side table, you see a sheet of instructions, two impets of essential oil (peppermint and ginger), a pair of tarnished calipers, and a brass pin. Next to the table, an iron panel stands open; you can see a crawlway below.

You can also see a sprig of rosemary here.

>recall centrality
"TO CREATE MISUBA'S LODESTONE (to locate the center of a labyrinth): Prepare an environment of earthy influences. Place a silk thread within the bound, and a labyrinth symbol upon the gestalt shelf. Begin with the Mithraic Sealing. Pour a sample of viridigris over the silk, and then lay a shard of elemental earth onto it. Strike a chime in the mode of recension. Now lay elemental fire upon the labyrinth symbol (not into the bound!) Finally, the Minor Animus will bind the lodestone to potential motion."


So now, we get to show off the true power of the game's accessibility. Watch all that time done on puzzles fly past in the blink of an eye!

>get silk
You can't see any such thing.

>go to silk
The length of silk cord is in the Main Store, as you recall. You head that way.
You make your way to the Herbarium Nook.
You take the pinecone from the herb shelf.
You make your way to the Secondary Alchemy Lab.
You take the impet of ginger oil from the side table.
You conjure a redoubled saturation symbol onto the steel bolt.
You make your way to the Mech Lab Crawlspace.
You lay the steel bolt on the hatch.
You recall the combination, and unlock the hatch.
You make your way to the Chymic Lab.
You take the flask of saline from the rack.
You make your way to the Herbarium Nook.
You take the dried mushroom from the herb shelf.
You take a pinch of mustard seed.
You make your way to the Chymic Lab.
You brew a bottle of fungicide.
You make your way to the Mechanica Lab.
You apply the fungicide to the Mech Lab door.
You make your way to the Main Store.

Main Store
This is the general storeroom for the Retort's laboratories. Shelves begin here and extend to the east and west. However, a fracture to the east blocks a large part of the room. The door to the south is open.

You recognize a figure to the east, beyond the fracture. It's Ensign Ctesc. He is moving towards you -- or would be, if he were not frozen in place.

A steel safe is set into one wall. The safe is closed and locked with a heavy combination lock.

The nearest shelves are mostly empty, but a rough diamond, a length of silk cord, and a length of silver chain are within reach.

>take silk
Taken.

>go to tile
The labyrinth tile is in Junior Quarters, as you recall. You head that way.
You make your way to the Pyrics Lab.
You make your way to the Chymic Lab.
You take the flask of saline.
You make your way to the Secondary Alchemy Lab.
You take the impet of ginger oil.
You take the impet of peppermint oil from the side table.
You brew a bottle of fire-resistance potion.
You drink the potion of fire resistance.
You make your way to the Pyrics Lab.
You reach into the kiln and take the thick key.
You make your way to the Lab Wing Hallway.
You make your way to Junior Quarters.
The fire-resistance potion has worn off.

Junior Quarters
This long room is the bunk space of the junior officers -- "junior" meaning "still above you," of course. The bunks are narrow but fussily neat, with a locker next to each. The exit is to the east.

The largest locker draws your eye: its latch is tied shut with a knot of white cord. A broad sheet of paper is pinned next to the locker.

You also notice a clay tile lying under one of the bunks.

>take
What do you want to take?

>all
broad sheet: The paper contains the gold ignition and the white-fuse challenge, both of which you already know. You pick up the sheet. Just in case.
labyrinth tile: You pick up the labyrinth tile.

>go to earth
The shard of elemental earth is in the Opticks Lab, as you recall. You head that way.
You make your way to the Opticks Lab.

Opticks Lab
This chamber is dedicated to experiments involving rays of light. A solid block of bluestone forms an immense workbench in the center of the room.

Whatever mirrors, prisms, and lenses are supposed to be arranged on the bench are there no longer. The equipment lies shattered on the floor -- all just an inextricable heap of broken glass, now.

The lab's door stands open to the west. A closet door to the east is closed. To the south is a storage annex.

A scrawled sheet lies next to the glass disaster.

>take earth
You make your way to the Main Store.
You take the length of silver chain from the shelves.
You make your way to the Pyrics Store.
You take the silver coin from the rack.
You enchant the lodestone of purity.
You make your way to the Opticks Lab.
You use the purity lodestone to recover the elemental earth.

>perform ignition
You make your way to the Materials Store.
You make your way to the Storage Nook.
You take the rutilum Alchemy File seal.
You make your way to the Materials Store.
You take the phlogisticated gold rod from the cabinet.
You make your way to the Pyrics Lab.
You take the splinter of blackwood from the table.
You take the splinter of winter-oak from the table.
You ignite the blackwood splint from the winter-oak.
You place the phlogisticated gold in the vapor crock with camphrost, and ignite them with the blackwood splint.

(You are now in the Pyrics Lab.)

>go to h chime
The glass H chime is in the Materials Store, as you recall. You head that way.
You make your way to the Materials Store.

Materials Store
You are in a small storage area. The Mechanica Lab is back to the east.

To one side stands a heavy table, upon which is another ritual bound. This one is adjustable; it is currently empty.

There's another cabinet here. It is open but empty.

An untidy storage bin contains three stone chips (obsidian, granite, and sandstone), a moon-metal rod, a broad quartz prism, a long quartz prism, and a fluorspar crystal.

A crumpled recipe sheet is lying by the ritual bound.

Someone has dropped a standard glass chime, the sort used in musical rituals. It's marked as being in the key of H.

You can also see a rutilum Alchemy File seal here.

>take all
rutilum Alchemy File seal: Taken.
crumpled sheet: The paper contains the universal tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin), the catalytic environment, and the categorical imperative, all of which you already know. You add the sheet to your bundle of paper.
glass H chime: Taken.
chip of obsidian: Taken.
chip of granite: Taken.
chip of sandstone: Taken.
moon-metal rod: Taken.
broad quartz prism: Taken.
long quartz prism: Taken.
fluorspar crystal: Taken.

>create oculus
You head to the Mechanica Lab.
You take the glass loop.
You make your way to the Pyrics Store.
You take the silver coin.
You enchant the resonant oculus.

(You are now in the Pyrics Store.)

>take all
silver coin: Taken.
lead rod: Taken.

>go to vinegar
The flask of vinegar is in the Chymic Lab, as you recall. You head that way.
You make your way to the Chymic Lab.

Chymic Lab
This wide room is dominated by a huge glass retort. You've practiced many chymical rituals in this apparatus. Hanging above the retort is an instructional sign.

The lab door to the east is closed. The only other exit is the hatch in the floor, which is open.

A supply rack holds four chymic flasks (sand, vinegar, muriatic acid, and mineral oil), neatly lined up.

Two papers, a folded sheet and a wrinkled sheet, are lying here.

You can also see a dried mushroom, a brass coin, and an impet of citronelle oil here.

>take all
dried mushroom: Taken.
wrinkled sheet: The paper contains the copper calcination demonstration, which you already know. You add the sheet to your bundle of paper.
folded sheet: The paper contains the word of culmination and the word of entension, both of which you already know. You add the sheet to your bundle of paper.
brass coin: Taken.
impet of citronelle oil: Taken.
flask of sand: Taken.
flask of vinegar: Taken.
flask of muriatic acid: Taken.
flask of mineral oil: Taken.

>go to orichalcum
The orichalcum rod is in the Main Store, as you recall. You head that way.
You make your way to the Main Store.

Main Store
This is the general storeroom for the Retort's laboratories. Shelves begin here and extend to the east and west. However, a fracture to the east blocks a large part of the room. The door to the south is open.

You recognize a figure to the east, beyond the fracture. It's Ensign Ctesc. He is moving towards you -- or would be, if he were not frozen in place.

A steel safe is set into one wall. The safe is closed and locked with a heavy combination lock.

The nearest shelves are mostly empty, but you see a rough diamond within reach.

>open safe
You recall the combination, and unlock the safe.

You open the safe, revealing an orichalcum rod.

>take all
orichalcum rod: Taken.
rough diamond: Taken.

>
You make your way to the Chymic Lab.

Chymic Lab
This wide room is dominated by a huge glass retort. You've practiced many chymical rituals in this apparatus. Hanging above the retort is an instructional sign.

The lab door to the east is closed. The only other exit is the hatch in the floor, which is open.


Check out that whirlwind tour, yo.

Anyway, first we need the viridigris. That ritual is easy enough.

>put orichalcum, vinegar in retort
orichalcum rod: Done.
flask of vinegar: You pour a measure of vinegar into the retort.

>speak hermetic
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the Hermetic Sealing.

The retort's equator begins to glow pearl-grey around the orichalcum rod and the reservoir of vinegar.

>turn on burner
You twist the knob. The gas burner hisses, and then bursts into flame.

The gas flame heats the vinegar.

>wait
Time passes.

The gas flame heats the vinegar.

>wait
Time passes.

The vinegar bubbles over the flame.

>speak catalysis
You begin murmuring the Phlogistical Catalysis. Immediately, the orichalcum starts to dissolve, tinting the solution a delicate turquoise.

It takes some time to run through all the permutations. By the time you are done, the orichalcum is gone, and the acid solution has been reduced to a thick turquoise layer. A few moments later, it is entirely dry.

You shut off the gas flame, and tap the viridigris powder out into a fresh vial.

>x viridigris
Viridigris is a dull turquoise powder, an oxide of orichalcum.

>i
You are carrying:
a vial of viridigris
a rough diamond
four chymic flasks (mineral oil, muriatic acid, vinegar, and sand)
an impet of citronelle oil
a brass coin
a dried mushroom
a silver coin
a resonant oculus
a fluorspar crystal
a long quartz prism
a broad quartz prism
three stone chips (sandstone, granite, and obsidian)
a glass H chime
a rutilum Alchemy File seal
a shard of elemental earth
a labyrinth tile
a bundle of paper
a thick key
a length of silk cord
a steel bolt
three metal rods (lead, moon-metal, and phlogisticated gold (with elemental fire))

>x granite through oculus
When viewed through the oculus, the chip of granite displays an earthy nature.


And now we can officially create the lodestone of centrality.

>
You make your way to the Nave.

Nave
The Nave is the marcher's heart, though the rows of benches are empty now. The seats face a pedestal, on which is a ritual bound and shelf. The side walls boast symbolic frescos; the south wall is a high, ornamented metal mesh -- the writ screen -- which separates the Nave from the Chancel.

A mural has been defaced with more of those twisted black marks.

The main corridors run east and west from here, and the Retort's entry hall is north.

>put granite on shelf
You put the chip of granite on the gestalt shelf.

>put tile on shelf
You put the labyrinth tile on the gestalt shelf.

>put silk in bound
You put the length of silk cord into the pedestal bound.

>recall mithraic
The Mithraic Sealing word creates a boundary circle. The Mithraic tradition is a mystery cult, associated with labyrinths and secrets.

>speak mithraic
You take a breath, trace the bound in your mind, and intone the Mithraic Sealing.

The arc begins to glow beige around the length of silk cord.

>put viridigris on silk
You empty the vial of viridigris onto the length of silk cord. The turquoise powder clings to the silk as if to a magnet.

>put earth on silk
The beige light ripples as you push through the arc. You lay the elemental earth on one end of the silk cord, where it clings.

>strike h
The glass H chime rings sweetly, and you let its resonances fill your mind.

The shard of elemental earth brightens, seeming to capture and radiate light.

>put fire on tile
You put the flaming phlogisticated gold rod on the labyrinth tile.

>speak minor
You voice the Minor Animus, trying not to cough. The shard of elemental earth acquires a milky tint. As the formula progresses, it thickens towards opacity; and the elemental flame dims, its phlogiston draining away.

When you reach the final throat-clearing stop, the bound goes dark. The earth shard is now pure white, with fine labyrinthine lines crazing its surface. The silk cord has melded with the stone, forming a pendulum.

Good work, kid.

>take all
lodestone of centrality: Taken.
labyrinth tile: (first taking the plain gold rod from the tile)
You pick up the labyrinth tile.
plain gold rod: You already have that.
chip of granite: Taken.

>x centrality
The lodestone of centrality is a length of silk cord with a white stone fastened to one end. When swinging, it will align itself with the path to the center of a labyrinth.


So, that should let us handle the paper maze. I don't think it'd help in the confusing cracks by the Barosy though, the center is the column, I think.

>
You make your way to the Paper Garden.

Paper Garden
The garden is the marcher's refuge of meditation and calm. Paper paths wind among beds of paper flowers; the walls are hung with paper trees beneath a calm blue-painted ceiling. A tiny brick-lined pool lies at the garden's center. The place isn't large, but it doesn't feel small. You've always liked it.

An opening to the north leads back to the Retort's main corridor, and another south to the lower reaches. To the east, a paper arch gives entry to the paper hedge maze. The observatory door to the west is closed.

>e
You step through the arch. Within moments, you are entirely turned around.

Lost in Paper Maze
You are surrounded by a maze of tall paper screens, painted to resemble hedges. The passages fold and fork in every direction.

>swing centrality
You hold the silk cord by one end, and set the stone swinging.

The stone circles oddly for a moment, then leaps to one side. You turn down the path it indicates. Soon the pendulum tugs the other way, and you follow it further. After just a few moments, the maze opens up into a wide clearing.

Paper Maze, Center
You have found the heart of the hedge maze: a circle of paper screens. A single opening to the west leads back to the labyrinth. You also notice an open hatchway which leads to a crawlspace below.

The dragon Pneuma is a mandala of alchemical runes inscribed on the screens. But the runes look unexpectedly lifeless.

A fragment of paper lies by the hatchway.


Oh hell. Something's wrong with Pneuma. I didn't even know things COULD go wrong with the dragons.

>x pneuma
Circles of grey-glimmering runes cover the inner screens. This is Pneuma, one of the marcher's four dragons. Pneuma is responsible for light, warmth, and the flow of air.

Something is wrong, however. You've never seen a dragon before, but by all accounts, the circles of runes should be rotating, eternally reading themselves. The color is wrong too. Pneuma can't be dead (or you'd be suffocating in the dark), but it clearly isn't working correctly.

You wrack your brains, trying to recall the Sergeant's lecture on the theory of dragons.

>recall dragons
A marcher is built around four incredibly complex alchemical constructs, called dragons. ("Because they'll bite you on the arse if you're careless," runs the joke, but in fact nobody knows the origin of the name.) Pneuma regulates light and air; Baros regulates stability and gravity; Aistheta manages navigation; Syndesis binds the rooms of the marcher together and to its destinations.

The dragons are the Retort's vital organs. Constructing each one took months of work by a crew of trained rectors. The idea that they've gone wrong is deeply disturbing.


So that's why all the lights are dimmed, and why we can't use the emergency pressure valve in the exoscaphe. Pneuma's malfunctioning. And I'm willing to bet most of the other problems on the marcher are similar in nature. Only question is, how the hell did this happen?

>take paper
(the partial sheet)
You don't recognize the handwriting. "...as alchemy's domain now encompasses the human body, the aura, and even the mind, we are left with the question of the soul. Could the human soul be can be created, destroyed, or duplicated by alchemical means? The religious answer is of course an adamant negative. Nonetheless, Nassib's investigation of the echo phenomenon is provocative, if not yet conclusive evidence of soul mirroring..."

You memorize the information, and also add the sheet to your bundle of paper.

>d

Garden Crawlway
You are at the west end of a low corridor, but the way east is fracture-blocked. Light spills down from an opening above. There's a wide crack in the south wall, although it looks like it narrows ahead.

You feel oddly heavy.

>s
The sense of weight grows more intense as you move along the crevice. Within a few yards, you feel as if you are carrying a backpack full of bricks.

This passage must run through the terrain of a high-gravity land; and Baros is not compensating for it. You turn back before the weight becomes lethal.


And Baros is through that way, so that means that Baros is at least as FUBAR as Pneuma. I mean, we can't confirm until we unlock the Barosy, but since the lock is made of brass, we could do that after another reset.

>u
Paper Maze, Center
You have found the heart of the hedge maze: a circle of paper screens. A single opening to the west leads back to the labyrinth. You also notice an open hatchway which leads to a crawlspace below.

The dragon Pneuma is a mandala of alchemical runes inscribed on the screens. But the runes look lifeless and inert.

>w
You head back out into the maze.

Lost in Paper Maze
You are standing in a hedge-maze of paper screens which form folding and forking paths in every direction. The screens are taller than you.

This is really much more confusing than it should be.

>w
You take several random turns. You only become more lost.

Lost in Paper Maze
You are surrounded by paper screens, taller than you, which form a maze of folding and forking paths.

You are lost. Perhaps the rectors have some mystical way in and out of here.

>w
Finally, you catch a glimpse of the archway, and stumble back out into the garden.

Paper Garden
The garden is the marcher's refuge of meditation and calm. Paper paths wind among beds of paper flowers; the walls are hung with paper trees beneath a calm blue-painted ceiling. A tiny brick-lined pool lies at the garden's center. The place isn't large, but it doesn't feel small. You've always liked it.

An opening to the north leads back to the Retort's main corridor, and another south to the lower reaches. To the east, a paper arch gives entry to the paper hedge maze. The observatory door to the west is closed.


So that's a thing. I guess our next step is to check on all the dragons and confirm our suspicions.

I mean, we COULD do that stupid ritual we found in the Captain's cabinet. But who knows what that would even do.

>rooms
Since the accident, you have visited these notable locations:

the Secondary Alchemy Lab
the Mech Lab Crawlspace
the Void
the Herbarium Nook
the Chymic Lab
the Mechanica Lab
the Materials Store
the Opticks Lab
the Opticks Annex
the Pyrics Lab
the Pyrics Store
the Main Store
the Storage Nook
the Library
the Lab Wing Hallway
the Nave
the Airlock
the Medical Wing
the Medical Workroom
the Portico
Junior Quarters
the Deck Suite
the High Tower
the Master Rector's Quarters
the Study Room
the Under Ward
the Scaphe Arcade
the Exoscaphe
the Paper Garden
the Paper Maze, Center
the Observatory
the Grand Stair, Top
the Grand Stair, Bottom
the Burning Hall West
the Edge of Chasm
the Deep Stacks
the Confusing Cracks
The following rooms still need to be checked with the oculus for sparks:
the Medical Workroom


>things
Since the accident, you have found (or created) these (portable) items:

five potion bottles (breath holding, fire resistance, clock tincture, fungicide, and coralicide)
four chymic vials (sublime spirit, bamuriatic acid, perfect mud, and viridigris)
nine chymic flasks (saline, rubbing alcohol, mineral oil, muriatic acid, vitriolic acid, vinegar, lubanja, alum, and sand)
five impets of essential oil (ginger, peppermint, citronelle, kelp, and eucalyptus)
seven metal rods (lead, platinum, nickel, moon-metal, orichalcum, gold, and phlogisticated gold)
two lengths of wire (platinum and nickel)
six stone chips (granite, sandstone, flint, basalt, marble, and obsidian)
seven wooden splints (elemental wood, cedar, maple, winter-oak, blackwood, green linden, and swamp pith)
four chimes (bronze F-sharp, bronze B, glass G-flat, and glass H)
four clay molds (for Medical, Alchemy, Aithery, and Venture Files)
three seals (lead Aithery, lead Venture, and rutilum Alchemy)
a scratched bubble
a shard of elemental earth
a capsule of elemental water
a brass pin
a steel bolt
a length of silver chain
a length of silk cord
a glass loop
a concave glass lens
a convex glass lens
a lump of rock salt
a fluorspar crystal
a long quartz prism
a broad quartz prism
a rough diamond
an iron bead
a sprig of rosemary
a pinecone
a sprig of honeysuckle
a dried mushroom
a chunk of coral
a pinch of mustard seed
a pinch of zafranum
a plain white feather
a lump of camphrost
a torch-lighter
a crusty scalpel
a dispersal brush
a resonant oculus
a planetary lens
a lodestone of purity
a lodestone of centrality
a brass coin
a silver coin
a horn coin
a measuring block
an ivory bead
a Chinese amulet
a rotor card
a blank tin slip
an ephemeris billet
a pair of tarnished calipers
a thick key
a porcelain paten
a labyrinth tile


>doors
You have yet to deal with the following locked doors and barriers:

the Secondary Alchemy Lab door
the Chymic Lab door
the Opticks closet door
the Deck Suite Venture door
the Tertiary Lab door
the Airlock outer door
the Portico main doors
the North Arcade marble door
the Exoscaphe hatch
the Birdhouse door
the obsidian door
the Barosy gate
the Observatory ladder
the South Chasm bridge
the Garden Maze crawlway
the Storage Nook cabinet
thirteen fractures


>rituals
You have learned thirty-one rituals: (* marks rituals you have not yet completed)

Great Marriage (*)
Gaian precipitate synthesis (*)
coralicide synthesis
viridigris synthesis
sublime spirit synthesis
lead weight increase inscription (*)
prophylactic scalpel inscription
aura imitation inscription (with quartz) (*)
lodestone of centrality creation
perfect mud synthesis
bamuriatic acid synthesis
clock tincture synthesis
metal attractor inscription (*)
glass permeability inscription (*)
electrum phlogistication (*)
aura invisibility inscription (*)
aura impermeability inscription
gold ignition
breath-holding synthesis
planetary lens creation
aura imitation inscription (with jade) (*)
dispersal brush creation
lodestone of purity creation
fire-resistance synthesis
resonant oculus creation
fungicide synthesis
universal tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin)
doubled rust cleansing inscription (with the steel bolt)
doubled tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin) (*)
basic rust cleansing inscription (with the steel bolt)
basic tarnish cleansing inscription (with the brass pin)


>formulas
You know an impressive list of alchemical formulae:

the Marcher's Sealing
the Phlogistical Catalysis
a word of emulgence
a Mediate Anima
a Relative Anima
a Major Animus
the Mithraic Sealing
a symmetric sequence
an antisymmetric sequence
the Sealing of Shamash
an isomorphic group
an idempotent group
a word of anaphylaxis
the Ka Sealing
the Binding of the Celestial Sphere
a phlegmatic sealing word
the Chi Binding
the Crystalline Tempering
the Anodyne Evocation
a Minor Animus
a resonant tone
a syllable of counterbalance
a word of entension
a word of culmination
the Hermetic Sealing
the Binding of Antipathy
the categorical imperative
the Lesser Phlogistical Saturation
an elementary word of binding
a word of essential nature
a simple sealing word
an unsealing mantra


>facts
You have picked up assorted facts:

the soul mirroring fragment
a lecture on the theory of dragons
the ephemeris billet combination
the store safe combination
the electrum substitution
the spiritual environment
the white-fuse challenge
the exhilarant environment
the recursive metaphor technique
the Cold Crucible gossip
the periodic table of stone
the Birdhouse defensive stricture
the nature of aura clouds
musical theory
the percalcination procedure
the elemental earth loan
a lecture on potions
a lecture on gestalt shelves
the copper calcination demonstration
the crawlway access combination
the catalytic environment
the work assignment
the resinous note
a lecture on aromas


People:

>recall anderes
You recall Lieutenant Jana Anderes -- a tall woman with dark hair and a long pale face -- which is usually bent into a sour shape, contemplating the misdeeds of Alchemy-file ensigns such as yourself. Maybe she's more pleasant company off-duty; you'd hardly know. You've only usually seen her in her storerooms, stalking the shelves and begrudging every teaspoon of an alchemist's request.

You last saw Lt Anderes in the Secondary Lab Crawlspace, caught in a fracture.

>recall ctesc
You recall Ensign Sydney Ctesc. He is Alchemy-file, like you; you often see him around the labs. You don't know him well; he's quiet, not to mention a year your senior. He's short and moon-faced, somehow with shaggy hair despite the marcher haircut.

You last saw Ensign Ctesc in the Main Store, caught in a fracture.

>recall powes
You recall Lieutenant Michael Powes: a beanstalk of a man, fair-skinned, with deep-set eyes that always reminded you of a hungry snake. He's Aithery-file, a junior Observatory officer; he spends his days over on the far side of the marcher where you rarely go.

You last saw Lt Powes at the Top of the Grand Stair, caught in a fracture.

>recall hart
You recall Captain Hart: a dark, burly woman. Her head is shaved clean, and set off by a gleaming, not-quite-regulation gold earring. Ensigns walk in fear of being noticed by her. She looks like she could pick up an errant scrubbie and throw him off the Retort -- probably with one hand. (Not true, of course. She'd just frown and a lieutenant would do it for her.)

You last saw Captain Hart in Officer Country, caught in a fracture.


And I guess we need to keep track of dragons now, too:

>recall pneuma
Pneuma is responsible for light, warmth, and the flow of air.

Pneuma is in the Paper Maze Center. Last you saw, something was wrong with it.

>recall baros
You have never been to the Barosy, where Baros lives.

>recall aistheta
You have never been to the Aithery, where Aistheta lives.

>recall syndesis
You have never been to the Birdhouse, where Syndesis lives.


Next Time: Homunculus
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  #30  
Old 08-22-2015, 03:47 PM
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Mr Bean Mr Bean is offline
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The four dragons correspond roughly to the four classical elements, right? Could you perform the great marriage with dragons instead of elements and get a living starship? Or did somebody already try that and that's why we're in this mess now?

Also, do we have the stuff for the aura invisibility ritual yet? We should probably check out the birdhouse and meet some more dragons.
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