MECHAMILLENNIUM: A CLOCKWORK APOCALYPSE
A Steampunk Roleplay Created by Tysyacha, and Starring Many!
Part One: Problem
"And you won't understand the cause of your grief,
But you'll always follow the voices beneath..." --Heather Dale, "Mordred's Lullaby"
IT WAS THE END. The schematics were finished; the clockwork machine had been built; and it had accomplished the one purpose for which it had been designed. For centuries--nay, even millennia--the mortal beings of this world had struggled with the age-old question: "From where does evil come, and how do we eradicate it?" Many people had presented their theories, from the highest scholars and sages down to the lowest of peasants. Ultimately, only one answer had been unanimously agreed upon by the Council of Mechamagic. Five completely different souls, accustomed to petty bickering, had at long last come to a consensus about the nature of evil and how to destroy it.
The priests said that an evil spirit, known in many tongues as the Adversary, spoke to the hearts of men and influenced them to do wicked things. This answer was not accepted, as the Council did not believe in such things. With no physical, tangible proof of such a spirit, they were bound to dismiss it as a fairy tale. Evil, the Council said, had no supernatural cause.
Then the peasants, speaking from the bottom of their humble hearts, said that the root of all evil was hunger, poverty, and disease--desperate need. With no food in our bellies, they said, of course we're bound to steal and kill, and lie in order to survive. Their answer was also rejected, because the Council of Mechamagic pointed out there were others who were also hungry and poor, and yet did not do such things. Thus, this theory was disproven.
The sages, hoping for better luck through the sheer vastness of their collective knowledge, said that evil was based on ignorance and fear. If one did not know how to make one's way in the world, they said, then of course one would be tempted to use the most brutally efficient means possible in order to do so. It was ironic that their view of evil dovetailed with that of the peasants. However, whereas the peasants suggested that evil would be cured through making sure all had enough to eat, the sages proclaimed that the answer to evil was learning, and gaining knowledge. The more one knows, they said, the less one has to turn to methods deemed 'evil' in order to live. The Council dismissed this third answer, saying that plenty of intelligent people devised and carried out malevolent schemes. The sages fell silent.
In the end, it was the voice of a child, a sickly ten-year-old Gnomish boy, that convinced the Council and provided an answer to the whole conundrum! He said:
"Evil's in the heart. And the mind. If you think bad thoughts and are mean to others, then you'll do bad things, but if your thoughts are good and you're nice, then you're not going to steal, or kill, or do much of anything wrong."
The Council members gaped as if a bomb had been detonated in their midst. Of course! How could they have been so blind, so stupid? It was obvious!
Thus, the Mechamagicians set out to build a machine that would detect evil in the hearts of men, and Elves, and Dwarves and Gnomes. No creature would be spared its scrutiny, or its wrath. All would be tested, and if they failed...
YERY WISDOMGIVER WAS DEAD. Well, not completely
dead. Not yet. Amidst the charred and burning wreckage of her home, a labyrinth of tunnels carved deep into a mountainside, the young Gnome lay mortally wounded.
she rasped, her voice rising into the empty air, filled with ash. "I should...have seen. Didn't. My life's been wasted..."
She thought of her friends, her family--all those who had died because of that infernal machine. No clockwork in existence had ever done as much damage as it had. The irony was that it had been designed to protect
and to guard!
Now, here she lay, her limbs bleeding and broken, with sweat matting her copper-red hair. Yery closed her eyes, which were filling with tears. Nothing could be done now. Nothing could be done, because no one was alive. The scent of acrid smoke and blazing metal filled her tiny nose.
In her final moments, all she could think of to do was bow her head and pray:
"I'd give...my life...in for a second chance to reverse this wrong! Great Powers of the universe, come to my side and spare me...for a while longer. It's a fair trade--a carefully--calculated exchange!" She choked on a lungful of dust. "Please, let me live so I'll...fight...win..." The Gnome convulsed, stiffened, and then breathed her last.