Construction of the Stones

Gavin Bache

World News

 Before I put pen to paper and tell my part in the strange goings on around the Lord’s realm these days, I feel I should make it clear the limits of my knowledge. I make no claim to understanding the ways and means of sorcery - I’ve enough of a mind to tinker with a clock, to have a handle on the mechanics of gears and gadgets, but ne’er once have I dared tread into the realm of magic, nay. And much of my tale is wrapped up in the swirls and sigils of sorcery, that’s true enough.

The mage Nystul, advisor to our Liege, Lord British, did approach me, and those few men that work under me, but a handful of days ago to secure a large quantity of stone from a particular quarry he pointed out. His wish was that we would transport the stone at night, all the way to British’s Castle - which made the job none the easier, though I could not bring myself to up the charges for our services. He was a strange duck, that Nystul, preoccupied with everything but the task at hand it seemed - e’en more so than those few other scholars and mystics I’ve briefly met in my long life. Simply, he seemed a man with much on his mind, and the weight of the world on his shoulders. Though I may be no scholar, I’m more than a simple laborer, if I do say so myself. And so, when I leant my hand in Nystul’s endeavor, it was as more than a gew-gawing simpleton there to break his back hefting boulders around without a mind to what it was he was making.

The mage and I ne’er once had a plain conversation, true, but as I went about the labor of mining and transporting the stones to the castle I always kept my ears to the wind, to try to figure out that invisible something that seemed to keep Nystul’s attention throughout the days.

Whispers here and there, the way the stone was shaped, and a quick glimpse at a scroll or two - one a carefully detailed map of our fair land - led me to believe that this was no simple project. And yet the map had marks in eight cities, scattered about the world, and we brought stone to only one - and only then under the cover of night. I couldn’t begin to fathom what bit of sorcery was involved, but I was sure there was a good bit of it to come - no man constructs eight stone edifices like the ones we labored over only to move them across the world after he’s done.

It wasn’t until tonight that I saw the proof of it, though. We’d set the last stone in place, chipped away at the last edge just as Nystul had so carefully instructed us. All was done, set in stone, in some recess of British’s expansive castle grounds - and all at night, only the lantern’s light to guide us, and the dull clank of hammer and chisel pounding away at stone.

But tonight - tonight the skies were filled with light, a dazzling blue energy, and a sound like none other I’ve heard before. We simple laborers were shooed off well before, of course, but we were tired and taking a well-deserved break before heading back to Minoc, lounging around the castle grounds before the guards escorted us off. Then, just then, as the last of us hefted our tired bodies from the bench, it seemed the entire night sky was lit up, the source of that light undoubtedly the tower directly to our rear.

Magic, and a spell most powerfully made, no doubt of it - this much was certain. We shook our heads at the sight of it, until the sky darkened once again and the cacophony of sound died out in a last echo from the castle walls. Not until we arrived back in Minoc the next day did we understand the full of it - or at least another bit of it. For there, just off from the town’s bank, sat one of the very stone structures our hands had toiled o’er just last night - miles distant. And e’en now, word has spread from town to town that a similar structure is to be found in eight of the towns I remember marked upon Nystul’s tattered map. Our Minoc, and Yew, Jhelom, Magincia, Moonglow, Skara Brae, Trinsic, and Britain. The largest, there, in Britain, the last bit of stone we’d worked over - a true work of art, if I dare say so myself - and right there, where we had sat the night before, looking up at the strange blue light that filled the sky. There at the very heart of it all stands the edifice.

Magic had moved those stones, there was no doubt of that - and surely their purpose would be a continuation in kind. Sorcery, indeed, but what make of it? What spell cast upon those stones, or from them, or with them? I say again, I’m no simple man, but I’ve no mind for magery - I couldn’t even begin to guess what the future holds for that which we had a hand in. And so I write these words and send them to you, to do with what you will. These stones, they come from Castle British, and only that fact gives me peace of mind, having seen the sorcery that surrounds them and binds them to this world.



From the Britannia News Network - The Journal of Ultima Online, April 13th, 2000.