Number Games

Follow the adventure from the beginning!

20990426 - portrait of a beautiful steampunk woman over grunge background.

When Nym awoke she was surprised to find herself laying on an unfamiliar bed, it’s cover wrapped over her and her shoes removed. She looked around the room and determined it to be a hostile of sorts. The room was small and shabby, but everything was placed in good order. Through her lifting fog she could see the golden light from a single window and she wondered at the time. She tried to configure the series of events that had transpired the evening before but her memory failed her. She wondered, until from the small sofa next her she managed to focus her gaze upon the softly snoring body of Amos Devile, his long legs jutting off of the cushions uncomfortably. She saw him and she smiled and fell back into sleep.

She dreamed of two golden cogs, each wearing the marks of a promise. In her dream they were talking in a strange sort of clicking code and she couldn’t help but feel that they were somehow making plans.


It had been three days since Nym and Amos had returned from Ghostraven’s Steampunk and Pirates with a satchel full of the symbols and markings that Nym had carefully copied from the Elderwood Door. She had been successful in translating many of the runes and glyphs, all of which seemed to be protective and binding in nature.

Nym had no question that whatever lay beyond that door was dangerous enough to require powerful enchantments and wardings to contain it.

The inscription that had been added afterward and, Nym suspected, at the same time the lock was removed, continued to evade her.

She was sitting completely befuddled in front of a half dozen gigantic tomes of ancient text when a hot cup of spiced cider appeared next to her. The smell was cinnamon and clove and the sweetness calmed her mind instantly.

“Thought you might be needing a break,” Amos appeared with a sly smile. He was washed and dressed in the fashion of the day, and Nym found that this more pedestrian look suited him well. She also notice that the blue of his waist coat brought out the depth of his eyes, and turned away shyly -instead focusing her attention on the steaming beverage.

“I fear sometimes that you are reading my mind!” Nym grinned and let the cup warm her fingers, smelling deeply before letting the warm liquid kiss her lips and relax her completely.

Amos was standing over her, inspecting the open books. In the passing days she had discovered that Amos, despite having been supplied with a remarkable education, did not read well. He struggled with dyslexia, a condition that had been the cause of ridicule in his young life. The after effect was a lack of confidence in his abilities. However, when it came to understanding mechanics and using reason,  she recognized that he was  quite gifted and she had come to trust his insights beyond question.

“Find anything new?” He asked.

Nym turned her attention back to her notes, “Nothing of the newer engraving,” she sighed with more than a little frustration. I know that the writing means something, but I just can’t find any record of the language. It must be very old or…” She let her thoughts wander away as they both stared at the words in silence.

“Peach, I was thinkin’ – and I know that ain’t always a good idea.” Amos grinned at her, “But, well. The other day when you were showing me the door markings I noticed something. I been thinkin on it a lot now, and I think you aughta see it too.” Amos could feel Nym’s eyes on him and became anxious. He worried that if he had made a mistake in his reasoning she might see him differently, but he also needed to tell her what he had discovered.

“That door is just a mess of different languages from different times and places, all of them kinda saying the same thing, you know?” He explained nervously.  “So I was lookin at it. and well… look…”  He pulled some folded parchment from his pocket and smoothed it out before her.

Nym clicked forward her monacel and leaned in, intrigued.

“See here?” He placed his notes over Nyms, “the markings are a pattern, of sorts. The languages of the five ancient cultures of Bellstead: – Meiville, Starfell, Primordia, Orria and the People of Crow Island – yea? … like this”  He had drawn a crude symbol for each of the them the added a sixth to represent the marks that were unknown.

” Now take your illustration,” Amos took Nym’s carefully transcribed drawing of the door and it’s symbols  and covered it with a thin piece of parchment that allowed him to denote each symbol’s origin. Nym was watching, fascinated but did not understand.

“Amos? They seem perfectly random to me?”

Amos looked at her as if unable to believe that she could not see what was entirely obvious to him. “Count them out, Peach.”

Nym began counting, and as if by some strange magic a pattern started to emerge. The original pattern altered by one glyph, like a soldier taking the back of the line, every time the number of the symbol was prime. This pattern repeated throughout the engravings, except for the unknown symbols which seemed to interrupt at random, and the symbol in the thirty seventh place which (rather than forcing the pattern to reorder) was an unknown symbol – something like a fat, mechanical spider. Her eyes wide, she looked at Amos.

“Why 37?” She hoped that Amos would have an answer as she was entirely perplexed.

“That one threw me, I’ve been working on it like mad, but…” Amos grinned and showed Nym the back of the page on which he had numbered the symbol spaces on the door. He had written out a set of simple equations:

111 / 37 = 3

222 / 37 = 6

333 / 37 = 9

444 / 37 = 12

555 / 37 = 15

He smiled at Nym who was still obviously struggling.

“All those numbers are divisible thirty seven without a remainder.” Amos began counting out each quotient on the door and rejecting them one after the other for reasons Nym could not quite grasp, until he reached the number 15, then as he counted she saw it! Every fifteenth symbol was the unknown language which interrupted the the pattern of those of  known origin.

“Nym – have you got that cog you found?” Amos asked, unsure. She reached into her pocket and withdrew the golden disk, puzzled and curious as to where he was going with this strange line of reasoning.

“I’m willing to guess that little automaton of yours has 37 teeth.” Amos looked anxious but certain. Nym, taking advantage of her monical, began counting- and was startled to find exactly 37 teeth.

“Now, what if…” Amos took the cog  from her hand and placed the fifteenth symbol in the center of it’s wheel. Responding, the cog sprang to life, eight spindly legs emerging which allowed it to move over the drawing of the door  like a mechanical spider. It stopped and lingered a moment on specific symbols, which Nym – at once realizing that it was a message – transcribed into her notebook.

After several minutes of revealing the message in the Elderwood door, the cog returned to the table before Nym, retracted it’s legs and was quiet.

Nym stood stunned.

Amos was grinning from ear to ear, obviously pleased with himself and his discovery.

 Unable to find words, Nym looked at message the cog had delivered- and the blue of Amos’ eyes shining proudly- and without any hesitation threw her arms enthusiastically around him. Surprised, he hesitated- then returned her embrace with a laugh.

The feeling of her was radiant.  Amos could smell the woody spice of her hair and feel the curve of her hips and back as he held her. In that moment he was the champion of the world, utterly intoxicated but found himself pulling away fearing her response should he linger too long.

“All right then Peach,” Amos blushed, ” you got work to do …and your cider’s  gone cold.”


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