Cognitive Dissonance

Just starting your journey through Fantastica? The beginning is here! 

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Perryn Peterson arrived at the home of Marcel Ghostraven at precisely 8pm. Marcel was banging around in his garage as usual, covered in greace and scratching down notes when Perryn arrived.

“Ready to be ground control?” Marcel laughed, clapping his hands together and sweeping off the dust of his evening’s work. 

“No, but I am ready for my wine,” Perryn smiled and raised an eyebrow.

While many men spend their time building hobby cars or model trains, Marcel had been investing his after hours building a time machine. A fool’s errand brought on by some complex nautical sextant that Marcel had purchased at an auction. The vessel itself was scarcely the size of a single man airship and was constantly falling apart.

On a typical evening, Perryn would hide behind an enclosure of shatter proof glass,watching gauges that measured God -only-knew what. Meanwhile Marcel would climb inside, count backwards from 10 and, if nothing had yet fallen off, he would attempt to fly the thing. 

 When the attempt failed, they would laugh, open a bottle and sit outside enjoying the weather, or perhaps walk to meet Mike at the pub.

“I call it the Auric Rectifier,” Marcel beamed, followed by the loud clanging of metal falling off of the contraption.

“It is a rather impressive bit of fantastica, but really you ought to call it junk!” Perryn chided, as he pulled on his goggles for safety.


Amos had sat listening to the Mayor and Mike’s explanations quietly and patiently. Nym was in a state of confusion and turmoil and he didn’t want to add to the stress of the moment. However, suggesting that Nym had fallen from the Celestial Heliograph which hovers many kilometers over Meiville was taking it too far.

Amos pushed back his chair and stood up.

“Amos?” Mike asked concerned.

Amos tucked his hands under his leather bracers and looked directly at the two older men. “Look here,” Amos said, controlling his tone while inside his temper flared, “I’ve known you Gentlemen most of my life, and with due respect, I consider you my family,” Perryn and Mike exchanged a look that Amos did not understand, “But this… this story you’re weaving has a lot of holes and I don’t much care to see Nym distressed for someone’s amusement.”

 “Amos!” Mike said, “No one is trying to hurt Nym, we assure you! As outlandish as all this sounds…and it isn’t a tiny bit as weird as this story gets… and all of it is true.”

“It’s true?” Amos continued to keep a steady tone, “That this young lady fell from the heavens and onto the shores of Port Twain, got up, dusted herself off and skitted off to the Library completely unharmed?”

Mayor Perryn put his hands over his eyes for a moment and sighed, “She wasn’t…” the Mayor knew what he was about to say was beyond anything a rational mind would comprehend, but there was nothing to do but to be honest and hope that  it resonated somewhere.

“She wasn’t alone. She was… inside the mechination.” The scarab beetle scurried to the center of the table and as if on cue and transformed itself into a tiny hot air balloon.

“Inside?” Amos continued to struggle with the idea that two such intelligent and kind hearted men would try to sell such an amazing bit of snake oil at the expense of a young woman. “Well then, perhaps she could climb back in and fly herself around the moon!”

The Mayor shook his head, “Amos, we know that you are upset and I promise you that all of this will make sense in time- for now though, could you trust that we will not harm Nym or yourself and just hear what we have to say?” His tone was becoming plaintive, “There truly isn’t much time.”

Amos looked at Nym who was puffy eyed and confused; she clearly needed him to be with her. He felt equal parts concerned and foolish for speaking, but the things they were being told just did not add up. Nym’s eyes begged him not to leave her and Amos took a deep breath. He returned to his chair begrudgingly, waiting for something the two older men had to say to make sense. Nym took his hand.

“Many years ago, after we returned from the Absinthe Wars, Marcel purchased a strange sextant at the museum auction,” Nym’s hand covered her satchel protectively as the Mayor spoke.  “The thing was supposed to help a pilot navigate time and space. Marcel was using it to build a time machine. He was always making things: toys and automations and bits of fantastica, but the time machine was especially bizarre, even for Marcel.”

Mike sat forward and began topping up the glasses on the table, the tea steaming from the china cups that remained largely untouched, “The thing was a health hazard,” Mike said with a smile.

“Yes,” Perryn smiled, “it certainly was. He called it the Auric Rectifier.” Perryn said the words as if announcing a circus side show. 

“One evening Marcel and I were performing a test flight. Marcel went into his machine and closed the door. A moment later walked out in strange clothes carrying a very unusual cage. He called the thing a Kronos.”

 The hair on Nym’s arms raised at the mention of the cage and at the word Kronos.

“Marcel claimed that he had visited another world, some fairy land he called Lys. He claimed that it had come under attack when his machine inadvertently created a singularity. He locked the cage and the Auric Rectifier away quickly and safely. It would be many uneventful years before Kronos was seen again.”

“We saw this cage,” Nym spoke up, “In Marcel’s secret room but it was open…empty. But How?”

Before anyone could speak, Amos interrupted, his eyes wide with understanding, “Emily.”


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