Monday, May 30, 2011
In fact, it occured to both Iris and Arky that something was terribly wrong at approximately the same time.
This was the morning after Arky reached the Dune village for him. He was of course, in a position to contact Iris, and sent her a thought immediately.
Iris wasn't particularly in a position to contact Arky without compromising her alias, but she was forced to anyway when she received Arky's thought. She had to search for the awkward end to the conversation that wasn't there.
"Well, Alteus, I'm glad I was able to help. But I think I remembered that I had to do something."
"Wait! I thought you said you were going to stay here to learn cetacean culture!"
"Well yes, but I just found out that-"
"You just found out something you remembered?" asked Alteus quizzically. Please, if its nothing urgent, we could really use your-"
"Actually, Alteus," said Iris, reverting to her usual form. "Its me."
Alteus looked absolutely flabbergasted. "Wha- What?"
"I was going to stay in sea lion form for longer and mess with you some more, but something has just come to my attention that should be fixed. You shouldn't be having these earthquakes in the first place. I'm going to have to meet Arky about this, because apparently he has a similar set of problems."
"You were Siri? No, Siri, can you polymorph?"
"IT'S ME." stated Iris simply, with the force of thought only a guardian could muster.
"Oh," said Alteus.
Iris reached out with her thought, and made the supports to the city as permanent as she could with all her powers as a guardian, since she didn't have to be discreet anymore.
"I've fixed your city, the earthquakes shouldn't be a problem anymore for a long time. But now I really do have to go."
"Uh, okay. Thanks, Iris. But what do you mean we shouldn't be having earthquakes? Haven't we always had them?" Alteus looked confused.
"I'm only slightly less confused than you are Alteus, but for a different reason. With any luck Arky and I will have this resolved within the day. Don't worry about it."
"Alright." said Alteus in a tone that indicated his confusion had merely been compounded several fold. "Umm, Good luck."
Iris waved and jumped to the moon, this time not bothering with a showy exit.
Friday, May 27, 2011
This is about when I started paying attention again, because I remembered I promised to treat my characters with utmost respect, and I didn't really do that by ignoring everything they were doing.
As soon as the quake started, Alteus reached out with his thought and did his best to suppress the movement of the ground underneath the city.
"I'm sorry, Siri, I'm going to be a bit occupied for a bit. This is what I meant."
"You're just stopping the ground from shaking? What about the water equalization?"
"This is the simplest solution, now let me concentrate."
Siri reached out with her awareness, and (just in time) remembered that non-guardians tend to have glowing eyes when pushing their psychokinesis to the limit.
"Allow me," said Siri, with eyes glowing yellow. Siri reached out to the struts anchoring the city to the sea floor. She temporarily broke them. The entire city shuddered and then stopped shaking. It started floating up very slowly.
"What are you doing!?" yelled Alteus.
Siri ignored him and rejoined the struts one by one, adding constructs of raw thought that would isolate the struts from vibration if there was too much, while continuing to keep the city in one place. She did this without even exerting a hundredth the power that Alteus was.
The city continued not to shake, even though the ground was shaking around it.
"What did you-" Alteus started, searching around for the point of Siri's modification to the city. "Oh, I see."
"Instead of trying to modify the ground around the city, I just modified the connection of the city to the ground. This also prevents the water-air equalization mechanisms from going out-of-whack. Sometimes you don't need raw power. You just need to be creative."
Alteus looked awed, and Siri made a mental picture of the look on his face to show him later.
Alteus raised a hand with a puzzled expression on his face. "You don't by any chance know Iris, do you?"
"The guardian of the universe? I wish."
"She's always telling me the same thing."
"I didn't know a guardian would need to adhere to a philosophy like that," said Siri.
"I don't think she has to. She chooses to. She would have enough power to fix the entire ground below us, and probably stop us from having these earthquakes altogether."
And it was only then that it occurred to Iris that something was seriously wrong.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Meanwhile, Iris was doing something.
And by doing something I mean that I was supposed to be thinking about this part of the story, but being in a coma tends to make one lazy, and I hadn't really thought about what was going on.
Obviously Iris knew what was happening, and I'm sure she mentions it in passing later in the story.
I know that she went into Atlantis and was having fun messing with all of her friends. However it is sort of a blur for me because I wasn't really paying attention at that point. Consequently I suspect that period of time in that region of the Qniverse is a blur for all the inhabitants. I can tell you that at this exact moment back in the Waterfall village (it was just before dawn over there), Mick was dreaming about pulling the same lightning trick that Arky did when he left, and accidentally set his bed on fire. I can also tell you that in the Dune village, a lizard called Tristan had just finished a plan for a construction project, and had subsequently fallen asleep at his writing desk. I can even tell you that a certain pair of human twins, both extremely adept at psychokinesis, had recently traveled to opposite sides of the world and disguised themselves in different forms. The slightly smaller one had just finished building a dwelling made of stone, wood, iron, and raw thought: a veritable fortress and the first of its kind, as there was really no need for defense in the Qniverse yet.
Anyway, back to Iris, or since she would prefer being referred to by pseudonym as I do, Siri.
Siri had "just befriended" Icarus the dolphin, who was very impressed with her psychokinetic abilities, and "introduced" her to Alteus, the head of the city, since he thought Siri might be able to help with the problem the city had been having recently.
Alteus politely told Siri that while her abilities were fantastic and rivaled that of a shadowkind, the mild earthquakes they had been having really needed the raw power of a guardian to fix.
Siri said that she would still try to help if she could.
Just before Alteus could reply, a particularly severe earthquake hit.
Monday, May 23, 2011
"What?" asked Arky?
Knoyou pushed his way to the front of the crowd. "We had heard it was your birthday."
"Well I suppose that's technically true. You needn't have gone through the trouble of setting all of this up."
"It worked perfectly!" Winda laughed. "You were so distracted by my probe on the way here that you didn't realize I contacted Knoyou to let him know you were here!"
"That's what that was about?" Arky was impressed.
"It was Knoyou's idea," said Umed (who was incidentally Mick's mother) "And incidentally you fell right into it." Umed punched him in the shoulder. "Pretty embarrassing for a guardian of the universe, huh?"
"Oh be quiet. I'm guessing Iris told you it was my birthday. Thanks you guys, I don't know what to say." Arky looked sideways over at Umed, "besides 'You shouldn't have done it.' "
Arky sighed internally. It seemed that the Qniverse consistently conspired to give him unwanted attention. This was not far from the truth, of course, since I was writing the story, and I decided it would happen, but of course this didn't occur to Arky, who mostly just interpreted it as bad luck.
Anyway, Arky resolved that the next time Iris asked to sneak in somewhere in disguise, he would agree.
The rest of the day passed without incident. Arky laughed along with the villagers, who had gotten ahead in their work enough just for this occasion. Arky supposed it was alright, since while he was here he would help them with whatever they needed. By nightfall, Knoyou and Umed had both gotten a bit tipsy (did I mention that Knoyou was Mick's father?), and were flying around making totally ridiculous patterns with fire.
It was a hard earned rest for the village though, so they all enjoyed it.
Dune village didn't have a special place for guardians to stay, which was really for the better, since a guardian didn't really need any place to stay at all. When the village finally turned in for the night, Arky simply hovered above the center, observing the region while he meditated.
Friday, May 20, 2011
"I have! I even learned to move things!" said Winda.
"Oh! By yourself? I'm impressed."
"Yeah! It only took me about 2 weeks. Now I can move even big rocks! Look!"
Winda closed her eyes tightly and concentrated. With a big effort, she lifted up a pebble about the size of her hand and raised it to head height.
"Really?" Winda opened her eyes wide with excitement and promptly dropped the rock right over her foot.
Arky swiftly caught it with his thought, forestalling the unpleasant pedal contusion that would have otherwise followed. He carried it off to the side of the path where it wouldn't bother anyone.
Now Winda's eyes were wide with amazement.
"Wow! How long did it take you to learn to do that!?"
Arky half smiled and half winced. "Well, to tell you the truth, it only took me about a minute."
"I'm not kidding. But don't worry. You'll get that good eventually too."
"Are you going to teach me some more this week?"
"Yes, as much as I can. I'll be pretty busy though. Iris had the idea of establishing schools in various places, and Dune village is one of those places. Once we're done, you'll get to learn this at school too."
They walked in silence for a bit as they approached the entrance to the village. Arky was looking forward to seeing its residents after a long time.
Hmm. This was odd. The village seemed quieter than usual. As they entered the village, Arky felt a spell go off, set to trigger when he entered. He knew it would have escaped the detection of any other being besides Iris or him.
Winda jumped in front of him and faced him. Arky could feel the spell beginning to work around him, but he couldn't tell what it was doing. He desperately tried to clear his mind and focus on the underlying thought behind the psychic construct. It was enormously complex. Whoever set this up must have had a lot of time on their-
"SURPRISE!" yelled Winda and the townspeople. The spell shot fireworks into the air, and everyone including Knoyou was out on the street congradulating him.
[I failed to draw a picture in time. you don't hate me for it, right? there will be one up next week, I promise.]
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Meanwhile, Arky had already jumped about a mile upstream of the village on the Dune river, the river that ran through the Dune village (naturally). He thought it polite to walk into the village rather than just appearing in their midst.
Although he wouldn't tell anyone, Arky much preferred the Dune village to the Waterfall village. Although it was harder to get resources in the Dune village, and they lacked the cultured politeness found in the Waterfall village, Dunefolk were honest and simple. Arky knew that they wouldn't have a big welcome ready for him. Knoyou was a shadowkind after Arky's own heart. Unlike Loost, Knoyou was not one for putting on displays.
Arky felt a small probe directed at his being. He smiled to himself. He knew who it was without having to trace its source back to the river. He gave no indication of having realized he was being spied upon.
He decided to give the little spy a run for her money. He feigned interest in a passing insect, and watched it for a bit. Eventually, being careful not to be detected, he suggested to the insect's primitive thought process that it should fly towards the village as fast as it could.
He acted surprised, and then raced after the insect himself. The probe followed him. The insect darted backwards again. He instantly reversed his velocity and followed. The insect zig-zagged back and forth, and he followed its path exactly behind it. The probe skipped a little, but still followed him. The insect darted up and down, but this time the probe didn't miss him at all. Then the insect mysteriously broke the sound barrier instantly and moved about half a mile down until it stopped right next to the source of the probe. The probe was lost completely.
Winda jumped out of the water. "That's cheating!"
"You've gotten a lot better though!" Arky laughed, "I can see you've been practicing."
[The more attentive of you have noticed my subtle retcons! Don't worry, my need for retconning details will die out as I plan out more and more of this world. However, I don't intend to let my characters suffer through an inconsistent universe either, so I will fix any problems that my universe has as best as I can. I'm not perfect though. I'm going to make it a thing that there is a weekly voting incentive, the post on friday will also be accompanied by a picture]
Monday, May 16, 2011
Iris could have simply jumped to the Waterfall village from the bottom of the sea the way she had gotten to the moon. But since she wasn't supposed to be there for a while, she thought it would be worth her while to take the journey by land without leaving the physical plane. You always meet new people when you travel, and the more of your subjects you know, the better you'll be able to take care of them.
Besides, she wanted to stop by Atlantis for a bit too, Alteus had contacted her and told her to come if possible, although it wasn't urgent.
She thought it would be funny if she went in disguise. She wasn't supposed to visit Atlantis for administrative purposes yet, so if she went the way she was now, it would mean undue attention from the townspeople. A cat zipping around underwater was pretty obviously her. Obviously she couldn't pretend to be a shadowkind, since there were too few shadowkind in existence to pretend to be a new one. The tightness of the cetacean community also precluded a whale or dolphin alias.
Fish and most invertebrates weren't sentient per-se in the qniverse, so those didn't even occur to her as options. After thinking about it for a bit and morphing into a seal and an otter both, she decided that a sea lion would be the best choice. A random sea lion that happens to be proficient enough in psychokinesis to breathe indefinitely underwater.
She sighed. It was a lame alias. She knew Arky wouldn't like the idea at all. Whenever she proposed that they sneak in somewhere like that, he'd dismiss it immediately. Oh well. Forget Arky. She was going to sneak into Atlantis as a sea lion and that was final.
Oh! It was probably a good idea to come up with a name, wasn't it? Yes. Iris the psychokinetic sea lion was probably also a dead giveaway. Hey. Her name backwards became Siri. That seemed like a different enough name to not be obvious. Good. She'd travel to Atlantis as Siri the Psychokinetic Sea Lion, and hang around for a bit talking to the common folk. Excellent.
And she would get to mess with Alteus too!
Friday, May 13, 2011
Iris was the first to regain consciousness and congeal her thoughts back into a physical form.
"Ugh... author? Amos? You there? I guess not."
She searched around for the core of Arky's being, and once she found it she poked him a little.
Arky came to with a start.
"That's one crazy dream spike he's having!" Arky yelled.
"Umm. I'm not sure. That feels like the last thing I remember hearing. Say, did you feel something different this time?"
"Not particularly. I feel worse than last time though. I feel like I had to put my entire mind back together."
"I saw a light. I felt something... Like we were missing some really obvious thoughts that make up the qniverse."
"But how could that be? We were in a position to see everything!"
"I don't know, Iris. Ugh. I feel terrible."
"We didn't succeed either. The author isn't back."
"I know. He would have said something by now if he was."
Downcast, the two guardians of the qniverse decided to try again the next year. They took the trip back down to Earth and hung out under the ocean for a bit before bidding each other good bye.
Arky was headed off to the large desert on the norther part of the second largest landmass on the planet. It was his turn to visit the village headed by Knoyou, who was more or less the second in command of the shadowkind, and incidentally was also in charge of what was called the western hemisphere. There was also crocodile child there who was particularly proficient in psychokinesis. He was also looking forward to teaching her some more.
It was Iris's turn to visit the Waterfall village next, although she wasn't really due there for another two weeks. She was looking forward to seeing Loost again. They had planned to establish a system of schooling the next time she visited.
[Sorry this post wasn't up at 12:00 AM, guys, Blogger was down for maintenance on the writer end of things, so the auto update thingy didn't work, and I had to come in here and manually click on publish post.
ALSO: There is a desktop size version of this picture available if you would like it as a voting incentive on TWC. So vote if you would like to see it!]
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
In the microseconds as he was transferring himself from Earth to the Moon, Arky slightly regretted showing off. He wondered if it was okay to let the people idolize him so much. Ahh well, Iris did it all the time, and it turned out alright.
And what do you know, there she is now.
"Nice exit," she commented.
"Nice exit yourself, disappearing into a huge beam of light from the sky."
Iris could sense Arky's slight discomfort at the notion of showing off.
"Arky, I don't think its bad to show off like that, as long as you're not being cocky. Besides, as long as you're creative with it, I think it's good practice for when you really need to do something like that."
"I suppose so. But when would we need to do something like that?"
"The author talked to us about this. There will be threats to this world, and they may be more powerful than you or I. When that is the case, only our creativity will set us apart."
"I know. I just don't see it ever happening."
"Well, there's everything to gain by being prepared, and nothing to lose," concluded Iris. "Why don't we do what we came here for."
They began to expand their awareness out beyond the planet, encompassing the moon, the earth, the sun, other celestial bodies. As they touched larger and larger portions of their existence, it became possible to detect slight threats to the planet, big rocks that were on a collision course with the planet. A casual thought sent these rocks back into safer orbits. Then they detached themselves from the physical plane and stretched tendrils of thought throughout the qniverse.
Suddenly scale no longer mattered. It was possible to feel almost every thought that passed through the qniverse without expending much effort at all. There were thoughts that didn't fit. Inconsistencies within the fabric of the qniverse. They surrounded them, isolated them, and began to iron them out as best as they could.
But just as had happened the previous year, and every year before that, the qniverse rejected them. They were knocked clean out of their awareness before either of them could even react.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Arky sensed the dawn coming before it broke into the sky.
With eyes still closed, he felt the forest begin to stir around him, and the slumber begin to dissipate from the minds of the townspeople around him.
Arky smiled with the realization that, while he technically did not have a gender, most people tended to refer to him using the male set of pronouns. There were a few who used the female set. He had taken to referring to himself with the male set for the most part, mostly for conveniences sake. Iris on the other hand, tended to encounter the female set of pronouns, despite being in the same uncharacterizable boat as Arky. She had taken to referring to herself with the female set for the most part.
And speaking, er... thinking, of Iris, they were supposed to meet again today, for the first time in several months.
Arky sensed that one of his hosts had finished their morning ritual and was preparing to check in on him. He slowly let gravity regain a hold on him until he came to rest on the floor, and opened his eyes. He thought about forestalling the polite knock that his caretaker was planning to give before calling, but decided to let the courtesy be shown.
Sure enough, Mick knocked on the door with the precise politeness cultured in the youth of this town from childhood.
"Come in, Mick." said Arky, just loudly enough to be polite, but not loudly enough that anyone but Mick could hear him.
Mick was only 2 years old, which by the standards of many creatures was a young age. However, most shadowkind reached adulthood by the age of 5. Shadowkind didn't reproduce often though, and Mick was actually one of the two members of the first generation of shadowkind to be born, unlike his parents, who had been created about 20 years ago by none other than Arky and Iris.
"Arkiel, sir?" said Mick in his usual overly polite manner.
Arky sighed. "Mick, I've told you before, you can drop the sir, and you can just call me Arky."
"At least do one or the other. We've known each other for 2 years now. You don't have to be polite to people you know well, because they know you care anyway."
"Alright, Arkieeee- Sir, I can't do that, it just feels wrong."
Arky moved toward the door and patted Mick on the back as he passed him. "You'll get used to it."
They stepped into the cloister and Mick plodded out behind Arky and caught up to him.
"I hope you've enjoyed your stay here. I'll miss you when you're gone."
Arky smiled at Mick. "Thanks, Mick, I'll miss you guys too."
"When will you be back next?"
"I'll be back when YOU learn to call me Arky," Arky laughed. He looked up toward the end of the hallway and yelled out toward it. "Oh hi there, Loost!"
Loost was the leader of this particular shadowkind village, as well as the leader of all the shadowkind in general. Of course, there were only 23 shadowkind worldwide at this point, and only 7 in this village, but there were many other creatures that inhabited the village, primarily raccoons, foxes, squirrels, and humans, who the shadowkind presided over to ensure their well being.
Loost was a good choice of leader, Arky thought. She was just, and kind hearted. Her only problem was the tendency to want to show off her abilities. Even now, Arky did not need to actively search for her existence to find her, she was walking down the hallway radiating power as if she were a piece of the sun.
Sure enough, she turned the corner just as Arky finished calling out to her. "Hello Arky," she nodded, "I trust you've enjoyed your stay."
"You know I did, Loost. It's been fantastic as always."
"Are you sure you have to leave? I know you and Iris always go off during this time of year, but the townspeople..."
"I know, I know. I'll miss you all, and I'm grateful for your effort to make my stay pleasant. But I really do have to attend to this."
They shook hands. Arky waved at the townspeople in the streets from the balcony. They had all gathered outside, knowing that this was the day he was going to leave. He could make out some of the townspeople he knew personally, and Ha! Little Eiga had bothered climbing up to the roof to wave at him.
He amplified his voice. "Thanks everyone! I just want to let you all know that I've had a fantastic stay! I'll be back again next year!"
The townspeople cheered. He decided to give them a little show before he left, and he floated into the sky and called lightning to him from around. Then he vanished, dissociating himself from that location and heading for the moon.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Hey Arky! Hey Iris! How are my favorite semi-omnipotent entities doing today?
"Hi Author! We made some new friends!" said Arky.
I can see that!
"We're doing great! How's our favorite omnipotent entity doing?" asked Iris.
Not so great actually.
They both really sweet and immediately asked me what was wrong and why I felt bad. I told them that what seemed to be a strong case of schizophrenia that seemed to spring up overnight was actually a brain tumor that was constricting rather useful parts of my brain.
I told them that I was going to be put under for surgery so that the tumor could be removed, but it was a risky procedure, and I didn't know if I'd make it.
Iris expressed some concern over the well-being of the qniverse. I assured Iris that the worst case scenario was that I was left in a coma, and the qniverse would continue even if that happened. I'd instructed my family not to put me down even if I was left in a coma for too long. Of course my family all thought I was crazy at this point, but I knew they would respect my wishes.
I told Arky and Iris that everything should be set up so that they could continue to run the world even in my absence.
I bid them a tearful goodbye and told them that I would be with them always, even if I didn't seem to be anywhere at all.
Of course the inevitable happened. Even though the operation seemed entirely successful, I never woke up when it was over.
But the Qniverse continued.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
I spent some time re-explaining to Iris and Arky the context of their existence, and why I wanted a main race (for relatability to the readers).
I drafted them to come up with an idea for the species main race while I visited my therapist.
It is to be noted that we had already created a human-like race at this point, but there was not that much distinction between the amount of thought in the human race and the amount of thought in animal. That is to say, there was no way we were putting humans in charge of the planet.
By the time my fateful appointment with my therapist had finished, they had come up with the idea for a race of creatures that was much like them in structure, but incorporated a lot less thought. But by a lot less, I mean about three times that of the other creatures, which is probably a million-fold less than either Arky or Iris.
We called them the shadowkind, since they acted directly on the qniverse for the most part, and thus most of the other creatures perceived them as nothing but a shadow unless they chose to manifest themselves in some form or another.
We made about 20 shadowkind to begin with, and charged them with the task of overseeing the planet, subordinate to only Arky and Iris.
I never communicated directly to any of the shadowkind, but gave them instruction them through Arky and Iris.
We gave them a few days to get used to the things they could do, and figure out a system of rule. Arky and Iris went around helping build various towns for the other creatures during this time.
The shadowkind elected their strongest, Loost, as their leader. They established a system of rule by distributing themselves around the planet, and reporting back to Arky and Iris to resolve disputes and other problems.
Our world didn't have a currency, all creatures relied on barter of one form or another. I had already warned Arky and Iris about the dangers of currency. I told them that creatures with less thought would often forget that their currency was only a representation of actual value. They would make decisions based on the perceived value of something that was merely a stand in for actual worth. Both Iris and Arky vowed to watch carefully over any such system that developed.
Arky made quite a few human and animal friends as well. Iris was a lot more shy than I had anticipated, but in time Iris grew to have friends among the lower creatures as well.
This all happened within about the scope of a week for me, which I suppose in retrospect was good.
It gave me enough time to start the world running before I told Arky and Iris the bad news.