Monday, 9 March 2015

Vonnet's Telescope

Vonnet began his occupancy of the telescope some eight years ago, and the locals are really quite grateful, as it's stopped all the deaths. So far, Vonnet has publicly described the telescope as being 'about as useful as a big dumb mirror seems', though he has not also come up with a good explanation for how it kills people. If you ask Vonnet why he bothers living miles out of town on the top of a cliff he'll tell you that it's great inspiration for writing. He's not wrong, but he is lying. If you ask the locals why he bothers living miles out of town on the top of a cliff they'll tell you that he's a wizard, obviously, but not the bad sort. Sometimes he'll suggest looking for yuzlat mushrooms over a particular ridge, and the people will go there, find them, and get very drunk on yuzlat tea. Thus is he accepted by all.

The telescope itself is of peculiar design, though as no-one in this part of the world with the exception of Vonnet has ever seen a telescope before, this will probably go unremarked. The most obviously peculiar thing about the telescope is the fact that it points down. Sitting on an outcropping of rock on the edge of a small, deep crater, the telescope juts precariously from the side of a cliff and points down at an enormous concave mirror, tiled to the floor of the crater. In the observation room within the observatory there is a single reclined chair under the telescope, as well quite a lot of imposing runes which are all completely decorative. Anyone sitting in the chair can shift themselves with a system of hand levers to be positioned right under the large, square-cut lens of the device, and looking into the lens will, once they get all the internal mirrors lined up right, instantly kill them. The mirror's workings are understood only by Vonnet, and if forced (and it would require quite a lot of force) he would describe it thusly.
"The telescope is a very old, very complicated device, that is very little more than a large mirror. When you look through the lens, you are looking through an absolute artwork of glass and copper, which does many complicated things to sight of which you do not need to know or understand [for all his flaws, Vonnet understands normal attention spans quite well]. Suffice to say that the lens shows you the great mirror below us. That great mirror reflects up into the sky, and for some odd reasons involving how thick air is it - no, don't ask questions. Really. Just don't. For odd reasons, this lets us see ourselves from the point of view of a bird, far, far, far above us. The danger in the telescope is nothing more than the danger of looking in a mirror. You see that big hole in the roof? That lets you look into your own eyes, from the perspective of a god. Not a very good idea."

If you're still imagining this you need to start reading again from the top

Vonnet is a wizard of mirrors, mentally styling himself as a mirrormage. He is possibly the only wizard of mirrors currently alive, though the telescope suggests that he is not the first. Vonnet's work in repairing and utilising the observatory is a very well kept secret, known only to himself and his miserable research assistant, an Ouahsdbaa named Uohassbt. The Ouahsdbaa has been recruited just recently. It was 'hired' because it does not have a reflection, allowing it to look through the telescope without immediately dying. Though it may have taken 6 years for Vonnet to figure out what the telescope does without looking through it himself, and another year to figure out how to get the Ouahsdbaa here, the last year has meant a tremendous leap forward for the mirrormage, and his experimental magics involving the observatory look to have him ruling the countryside in only a few short decades.

The secrecy of Vonnet's work is obvious once said work is understood. If one can properly utilise the telescope they are capable of spying on anything within several thousand miles through completely non-magical means. Once anyone of any political power finds out what the observatory can do, Vonnet is well and truly fucked. As such, Vonnet's primary motivation is to pretend to be a wizard pretending to be a historian.

Uohassbt the Ouahsdbaa is sad because Vonnet stole him from his home country. Vonnet insists he didn't mean to, saying that he had another much more willing Ouahsdbaa lined up for the job, and frankly cannot figure out why his spell grabbed the wrong one. He is not as apologetic as he should be, and insists that once he has solved the mysteries of the observatory he will be able to send Uohassbt home. This is all total bullshit of course, and the harpies have seen Vonnet dump the bodies of the first two Ouahsdbaa, who didn't buy the story. Killing them wasn't murder of course - to a mirrormage, people without reflections aren't really people, how could they be?

The last thing you need to know about the observatory is the harpies. They are obnoxious little shits, and will spend their time doing obnoxious little shits on anyone that climbs up to the telescope. When you do the voices it's important that you make them sound like those little worm guys from Men in Black. They know Vonnet's secret, but hate the Ouahsdbaa enough to never tell him. They hate everyone, actually, including Vonnet, but he gives them shitty moonshine regularly enough that they hate him the same way they hate each other, and will only betray him if it seems funny at the time.

Picture this guy saying a naughty word and
then laughing so hard he pisses on you

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