Occasionally, we include flash fiction from the Grailrunner archives here. Today, the spotlight is on a character named Madessa, who features prominently in the Salt Mystic core rulebook. Enjoy!
She’d answered him twice already, but the guard just kept squinting at Madessa suspiciously with his helmeted head cocked to the side, “You’re with the what’now?!”
For the third time, “The Reignition Society…Sisters And Brothers For The Free And Open Mapping Of The Oriel Webway. And I made a promise.”
He prodded her again to keep her hands in the air, “Where I can see them! We’ll see which bin the Castellan wants to toss you into, clownface girl!”
They stood in the ponderous shadows of a rising stone temple swarming with workers, amid smiling and bustling crowds of villagers pushing carts. The carts bore stone and mortar and gilding plates,and produce and dried meats for those on the towers. They were building a soaring marvel where a poorer temple had once stood and burned down a generation ago. It was a celebration of unity and the most exciting thing that would happen to many of them.
The Castellan apparently not being available, the guard tried sounding official again, “What’s an oriel? You keep saying that!”
Madessa glanced down the dusty road at larger silhouettes on the horizon, grinning so slightly at what looked to be an elephant with a passenger basket and cargo hanging off its sides, “An oriel is a pocket of artificial space, created thousands of years ago. You live in one. All this. It branches off from the real world, where I’m from.”
She looked at his puzzled, hideous face and smiled, “I map them.”
“You’re a cracked egg, is what you are! Who created all that then?!”
“They called it ‘The Infinite Republic’. Countless worlds just outside our space inside their bubbles and sometimes forgetting that’s so. The Society wants to rebuild some of that. Just the good bits. I’m for real, dude. Surveyor and cartographer. I just came to get the skinny on this rebuilding operation you’re up to here. This will make a great navigation point. I’m gonna need some of that gold though.”
The guard glanced at the cart, laden with donated bracelets, necklaces, armlets and earrings for the casting pit. He spat at her, laughing viciously.
“I made a promise”, she said as she lowered one hand and pointed with the other. Following her pointing finger, the guard saw the laden elephant charging wildly. It was headed directly towards them.
Panicked, he looked back at her to see what power she had over this.“What promise?!”
“I promised the people on that elephant some of this gold.” Madessa snatched a handful of gold and slipped into the crowed just as the chaos set in. The Society had wonderful aspirations.
They just didn’t have any money.
(c) Brian Bennudriti