Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chapter 4, part 2 - Matrix

The streets of Losthaven were still bustling when Porphyria landed, even though it was well past midnight, and the morning twilight was only a few hours away. Such was normal for the city, as the nocturnal inhabitants took over their shift from those who preferred the daytime. Porphyria drifted through the bustle of the streets invisibly, manifesting only as a deepening of shadows that the populace subconsciously avoided.

Up ahead, Porphyria spotted a small open stall amongst the storefronts. The stall was manned by a middle-aged svirfneblin man who sat, slowly polishing his wares -- an assortment of flux weapon handles interspersed with perfectly-formed quartz crystals of various colors. This was the place she was looking for, and Porphyria dropped her psychic veil of invisibility before walking up to the front of the stall.

The svirfneblin looked up from his busy work as his customer approached, his deep blue, pupil-less eyes scanning Porphyria's face before he nodded slightly and continued his work. "Whatcha come here lookin' for?" the shopkeeper asked, seemingly disinterested.

"I need a psionic matrix. One of your best, and preferably violet." Porphyria scanned the rows of weapon handles as she awaited the shopkeeper's response. Her attention was quickly drawn to a quartz crystal that the shopkeeper had selected from amongst the others, and now held in his hand, appraisingly. The psionic matrix was an intense amethyst color and apparently flawless.

"This is the best violet one I've made in a long time," the shopkeeper mused, "it's easily worth ten thousand gold."

Porphyria chuckled aloud, "I think you're mistaking me for someone with more money than sense, friend. I've gotten matrices of that quality for less than one percent of that price."

The shopkeeper snorted derisively, "Sure, from people who don't know the value of what they have. If you want to go hunting around rummage sales and pawn shops for some undiscovered treasure, be my guest. But I know quality, and here you pay for quality."

The shopkeeper had a point -- merchants who had little knowledge of the wares in their shops often sold psionic matrices as if they were mere crystals of quartz. On more than one occasion, Porphyria had needed to pry off a pewter dragon or unicorn that had been ignorantly glued to a psionic matrix by someone who thought that they were thus enhancing the value of the ware they were selling. Porphyria shuddered to think of the powerful matrices that had been blithely destroyed, or eaten by lothari.

"I will give you five coruscars, each easily worth a thousand gold," Porphyria haggled, flashing the shopkeeper a disarming smile and producing the otherworldly gems for inspection.

"At least you're not attempting to insult my intelligence or my skill at my craft," the svifrneblin said as he inspected the quality of the coruscars, "but your price is still too low. I will need at least three more of these gems in order for us to have a deal."

"One" Porphyria offered, "and I will take that flux spear from you at its asking price." Porphyria pointed to a shaft of steel standing behind the shopkeeper.

"The asking price for that particular specimen of my work is two thousand gold," the shopkeeper said, "bringing your total up to eight of these gems."

Porphyria produced the svirfneblin's price -- it was a bit steep, but she could tell that the items were worth it. She took her purchases and walked a short distance to a residential street, where the crowds of the market quarter were absent.

First, Porphyria tested the flux spear, smiling as a glowing blue blade of light emanated from the steel haft. Porphryia felt the spear drawing slightly from her psychic facilities to maintain the coherence of its blade, and she gleefully provided it with the power it required. The weapon would be a good addition to her arsenal, and would soon find action against the Justicars.

Finally, Porphyria let the blade of her spear go dark, turning her attention to the unassuming violet crystal in her hand. Carefully, since from time to time the elemental intelligences of particularly powerful matrices manifested themselves with a quarrelsome and sadistic bent, Porphyria probed the psychic fields contained within the crystal. As the fields within the crystal responded to her probe, Porphyria could sense a muted and submissive intelligence within, barely more than a faint whisper in the background of her mind. "Good," Porphyria thought, "one that doesn't talk back. I will have to come back to that shop for my next one."

It took only several brief moments before Porphyria felt the fields of psychic energy within the matrix attune themselves to her psionic facilities. She focused on filling the matrix with energy and the color of the crystal became more intensely violet as psychic energy filled it up for later use.

As if coming out of a dream, Porphyria stirred herself from the bonding process, knowing that the matrix was ready to serve her. Soon, she would put it to good use.


  1. I have to say I really enjoy your writing on these and the clarity of your vision of LS. Nearly every single time your story goes in a direction that expands on and refines what's actually explicitly described in the game, the direction you take it rings completely true to me.

    It's very pleasing when I feel like someone gets my work. :)

  2. Sounds more like Ararloman's shop in Devonshire.

  3. I feel amazed whenever I read Porph or Arc's work. Far better writers than I hope to be and it's not false modesty at all. Excellent excellent work. I actually enjoy how they're both what I'd consider 'evil' really, but from opposite ends of the spectrum. But both their works are very real.