Here at Grailrunner, we aim in our worldbuilding for the SALT MYSTIC universe to frame a place where almost any type of story can be told. In fact, the notion led us to the concept of the oriel as an artificial pocket space manufactured for explorers to populate or for shelving away mighty battles, where even ancient civilizations could be flourishing because their oriel’s time moves differently to ours.
When you’ve got that kind of span, any sort of monster might arise. Right?
One thing that always struck me as genius about King Kong or Frankenstein was how sad you felt for them. The big ape splattered there on the New York street hadn’t asked to be hauled off on a boat; and he had the heart of a hero. But splat. The reassembled corpse was just trying to make his way and be cool with everyone. But torches.
That line of thought took us recently to a new entry in the Salt Mystic rogue’s gallery: the Questforged.
Here’s a quick piece of flash fiction introducing these poor guys. Let us know what you think.
Of course we did.
You don’t devise rifles that launch ball lightning and arm-mounted electrostatic chainsaws and fail to have the vision to surgically attach them to vat-grown mutants. Most of the Questforged elect to be sawed in half and hardwired directly into ramships or vortex wall climbers. Honestly, they’re a terror to see. And crazy.
That’s actually not what’s interesting about them, though.
The neurology is based on mass shooters and serial killers, especially wartime basket cases. Technically, they’re just mad all the time and looking for dopamine in the worst way. There’s a terrible truth with these fellows, though, relating to how we manage them.
Sana is a hallucinogenic algae wine grown in magnificent terrace gardens in the mountain cities. It’s pumped directly into their bloodstream, along with liquid computer bots that create manufactured realities for them.
And that’s the heartbreaking story of the Questforged. The people who control these terrible beast-men do so with fairy tales and fantasies about false terrors. They have no cause anchored to the real world, but instead chase stories fed to them by their generals. They are killing imaginary beasts and paper villains.
Not that you’d know the difference.
(c) Grailrunner Publishing