It was a story from long ago explaining the origin of the different tools that I wielded. Something that I had not thought too much about because it was not very relivant to me using the Tools and the old books did not give any other information.
However when the Wanderer asked me how the Lantern of Illumination worked I couldn’t give him a good explanation. I knew what it did and how to activated it but my knowledge of how it functioned was shaky at best. It revealed things that were hidden, both by darkness and by other means. Which is why it was incompatible with the Dimension Seal which dealt with hiding things.
Worse it felt like I should understand how the Tool worked. My unconscious mind nibbled at my thoughts telling me that I could understand how it worked if only I tried. So while I moved around this world I thought about it asking myself how it item really worked.
I can’t really explain what I discovered. It would be like explaining how to move your arm except that your language does not have appropriate words to describe the actions. It is like composing a song except the instrument that you are playing is reality. The Lantern is like a sheet music or maybe a music box, holding the different notes that are played. When the strings of reality are plucked the ripples in the world spread out and change things. That is the best that I can explain how it works.
By understanding my own abilities better I understood that Valarie’s power was completely different. If my Tools played the instrument of reality then Valarie was an instrument maker. She could break and repair reality to suit her needs. It was an ability that was far more powerful and dangerous then my own. Although even though she could change the instrument she was without the ability to play the instrument that she made. The best she could muster was letting the instrument play itself. So while she was powerful so was also greatly limited.
This realization was strange, if Valarie could master her power completely then she might be considered akin to a god, capable of making or destroying worlds. For maybe the first time, and definitely the first time since leaving my world, I actually understood why Master had been afraid of her. She not only have the ability to destroy our world but potentially all worlds. Truly a terrifying concept. But I trusted her, Valarie was not the type of person who would do that, at least as long as she was right of mind. It was a friend’s duty to help other friends and I would definitely help her control her power.
It was through this line of reasoning that I returned to my question about the Forge of Beginning. These tools that I had were complicated and detailed crafted to utmost perfection. I examined each of them in turn to find the same thing in each of them. I beautiful song that played on reality. Even if another Tool made them then somebody must had designed each one of them meticulously.
Was something like the Forge of Beginning really required to make these Tools? The layout of the songs in them made sense to my new illumination and the strange call came to me that I could potentially do the same thing. Then I asked myself the quintessential question, was the Forge of Beginning actually just the person who made the tools? A crafter who understood reality enough to make them. A crafter who then died. Then the fact that it was actually a person who made each one hidden in the annuals of history so that nobody would try and reproduce the effect.
Then could I do it? Could I be the Forge of Beginning and create my own tools? The idea appealed to me and also terrified me. What kind of power would that give me in a world, to have the world was my instrument, not just as a musician but as a composer?
Yet with that power could I find a way to save this world? It might be possible. So I listened to the world. I didn’t know that I could do that before I tried. Each of my tools played a song but the world had its own tune as well, the song of its very existence and everything that happened in it.
Beneath the mask that I was wearing I began to cry as I listened to the song. It was a song of regret and endurance. The world had once been strong and beautiful, one part of a larger group of instruments. Together they make the greatest of songs but then the connection broke and it was alone. It did not know how to sing alone but it tried as hard as it could to find a new, even more beautiful song. Yet it was still alone and it desired to no longer be so. The world called out to others desperately trying to join once more in song.
I stopped listening to the song as deeply. That was a weird song, what had this world once been? Somehow the question resonated with the song that I was still paying a little attention to. I felt the resonance from the song and then I found it, a piece of the instrument. It was a gun, a small one, a pistol. It lay on a metal plate bolted onto the ground. I picked up the pistol, it was old, very old, from a time that the world did not sing alone.
I could feel the old remembered song in it. It was beautiful, but like a tragic opera was beautiful. It was the same world as this one but long forgotten, was that the world that the Wanderer wanted. I did not know but it was different then the current one.
Then the idea hit me. If I could make Tools like the ones that I had then I could give them to others. To the ones that needed to use them. The Wanderer was the one that needed to decide this world’s fate, not me. There were two parts of this world’s song, the old and the new. If this gun represented the old then what represented the new.
I wild grin spread across my face. I knew what it should be. This world was never peaceful, it was a place of trial and of conquest. In both the past world and the present world. I had already seen the symbol of the present world. An ash covered world full of dangers.
I knocked on the front door of the Wanderer’s home. It had been quite a while since I had had left, five or six hours I expect. The door was answered by the Wanderer who let me enter. His lights were dimmer as I entered and removed the thick clothing that he had given me to wear.
“You were gone a long time.” He said, “We were beginning to worry about you. Valarie and Esta fell asleep while waiting.”
“I had a lot to think about. I think I understand how to save your world.”
He stopped while he was placing the coat on the rack. “Really? How?” He asked.
I placed my finger near my chin trying to find the right explanation before I said, “When desire to save this world there was actually two things that need to be done. The first is to prevent the world from dying, Valarie was solve this problem by connecting this world to the one Esta is from.”
“And the second thing?”
“Choosing this world’s destiny. The past of this world is very different from the present. What route this world takes after the connection is made will be up to the people living in this world but currently they lack the power to do it. However I can give you that power.”
“Give me the power to decide the destiny of this world? Is such a think really possible?”
I revealed the items that I had, the two sides of the coin. One of the gun that I had found representing the past. The second was a large fang. It was from the snake that the Wanderer had killed. I had been drawn to it in the nearby building and removed the fang myself.
I said “These are the past and present. Trial, that is the name of your world. It is a harsh world, any change to that would truly destroy this world. However the shape of that trial is undetermined. These Tools can help you survive in this dangerous world or they can be used to lead the survivors out of it. A past where fighting for survival was literal or the present where even existing is a challenge. They are different yet similar.”
“Trial? Does that mean that this world can not be peaceful?’
“You worked to learn to survival in this world through ingenuity. If this world was peaceful and content with no danger and threats would you still want to live here?”
“I…..” He paused and actually thought about the question for a moment, “I think that you are wrong. That this world can be make peaceful. While I might no longer be content to live in it if it becomes so that does not mean that should not be the goal.”
I smiled, “I see, a rebel against your own world huh? I can’t say that choice is the wrong one. A world of Trial made peaceful, wouldn’t that be something to see. You would be destroying the world and remaking it.”
His eyes were like fire, they burned with a rekindled hope which could possibly do what he desired. “You say the world is a Trial. Then I shall take on the greatest of its trials and make it peaceful.”
I laughed softly, “Well then, the offer still stands. I will give you the Tools that I can to help you. The Tools that represent this world. Yet, if you want a third path then these two will not be enough. You will need a third tool. I want you to go into your study and find me a book.”
“A book? Which book?”
“The one that represents your desire to save this world.”
I looked at me trying to ascertain what I was doing but eventually he nodded and went back into his study. He might actually be more like Valarie then like me. He wanted to rebuild the world, change its fundamental nature. I could not see how that would be done by him but… I feel that I could be done, if he was strong enough. However I could not change it, I was not connected to this world in the same way that we was so I could not convince it to change. Valarie might be able to change it but with her current control that might leave irreparable damage to the world. Yet the Wanderer’s closeness to the world might allow him to change it.
He returned and handed me the book he had chosen, ‘A Treaty on Mechanical Devices.’ I looked at him and asked, “This seemed like a strange choice.”
“If it is people that will save the world then it must be through our strengths. You said that I survived with ingenuity didn’t you. I can think of no other quality that can represent the strengths of humans better.”
I nodded, “Very good.” My right hand glowed and the Essence Knife appeared. “Now, the only thing remaining is a pact of blood. You must be connected to your tools in the closest possible way.”
He held out he hand. I first slit my own right palm and dripped my own blood on the three items. Then I made a cut on his palm as well and he repeated what I had done. Then I called upon the Forge of Beginning, the First Tool, Me.