Tag Archives: Meat-Man

Monkeys Do the Cooking

True. Monkeys Do the Cooking in Death’s Castle

Lita takes Gentle Reader to the land of Clockpunk Wizard today, with an excerpt from Old Bony Blue Eyes.

Sir Death's Castle on Undying Island, at Rim's Edge

Sir Death’s Castle on Undying Island, at Rim’s Edge

Wizard Kadmeion and his assistant Sir Bright have arrived at Death’s castle. The wizard went to The Library to seek out Charon and his resident magician, Wizard Mephistopheles. Because Death is notorious for setting a poor dinner table, Bright went to the kitchen to fix dinner for himself and the two wizards. He is doing an inventory the pantry. Behind him, three entities shuffle in through the open kitchen door. Without needing to turn around, his magical sense tells Bright that his visitors are demons inhabiting homunculus bodies.

Bright turned and sucked in a breath. The narfleet was a clockworks magician who assembled metal automata to house the minor demons that Kadmeion summoned. Bright’s magical profession had counterparts who prepared plants or animal bodies for the same purpose. Here were three examples of a Meat-Man’s dreadful artistry.

Kadmeion went to The Library to seek out Charon and his resident magician, Wizard Mephistopheles.

Kadmeion went to The Library to seek out Charon and his resident magician, Wizard Mephistopheles.

An orangutan, a chimpanzee, and a tiny Capuchin monkey waited at the doorway. These homunculi wore miniature versions of Sir Death’s livery. The orangutan cracked his knuckles and looked everywhere but at Bright. The other two regarded him with large, awe-filled brown eyes.

“Good day, Sir Magician,” the chimpanzee said. “I am Theodore. The large fellow is Rupert. The wee one is Miss Constantinople. We are pleased to make your acquaintance.”

They looked at Bright with large, awe-filled brown eyes.

They looked at Bright with large, awe-filled brown eyes.

The demons’ respectful salutation required Bright to respond in kind. “Greetings, madam and gentlemen demons. I am Wolverhampton Brighton, the twice-seventh son of Elf-Lord M’Choakenchilde, and assistant to Wizard Kadmeion. You may call me Sir Bright.”

The three simians exchanged nods and grins. Rupert let out a happy screech. Miss Constantinople hopped in a circle and clapped her hands.

“Delighted to make your acquaintance, sir,” Theodore said. “You and your wizard’s reputations are known in the Nether Plains. Our master ordered us to help with your dinner preparations. We know nothing of cookery, but will do as you ask.”

(Old Bony Blue Eyes excerpt Copyright 2013 by Lita Burke. All rights reserved.)

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Potential Energy: Curse of the Metal-Man

With being a scientist in the mundane world, and also being the writer-architect of the magic systems in fantasy worlds, I must create magic that “makes sense,” or risk the justly deserved disappointment from Gentle Reader. Oh, the challenges.

For example, the Sye fantasy world in Wrath and Tredan’s Bane showcases the conflicts between Enchanter seduction magic and Churchie moralistic spells. Sye uses the Magic Guild to keep the magic works in balance and control the magicians’ tendency to feud.

In my forthcoming Ephraim’s Curious Device story, the wizards’ magic has very different rules, and their concerns are airships, floating islands, and automata (homunculi). There’s a philosophical conflict between the clockwork guys and the “Meat-Men” who create automata from plants or dead animal parts.

Yuck on the Meat-Men. Let’s get back to clockwork.

Here’s the curse with the Clockpunk Wizard fantasy world: how do I keep a clockwork man from winding down too quickly?

How Clockwork Works

Clocks have various sized gears. Clocks use tension stored in a mainspring, or they use gravity like in a grandfather clock, to transform potential energy (spring tension) into kinetic energy. Kinetic energy moves the gears, and the gears then move the hands on the clock face.

The different-sized gears release kinetic energy in bursts (seconds). This regulated system measures out uniform chunks of time. In addition to keeping time, clockwork powers other animations such as phase of the moon dials, cuckoos, and music box innards.

In Ephraim’s Curious Device, clockwork animate the homunculi who fly airships. Very inconvenient for an airship’s automata pilot to stop its ticktock at the wrong time and blunder into the side of a floating island. The clockwork designers (“Metal-Men”) must deal with the curse of potential energy running out in their devices.

Magic is the Solution (of course)

A couple of approaches come to mind: (1) magical power runs the automatons, or (2) spells call something to power the clockwork. Sye already uses magic as a power source to fuel magician’s spells. (Gentle Reader frowns–don’t repeat yourself–it’s boring. Understood.) That leaves the second approach. Here is another question for the fantasy world writer-architect: what do the spells call?

Let’s talk this through. Whatever the magic workers send for in the Clockpunk Wizard world, it must be small enough to live inside clockwork gizmos. Shall the wizards send for tiny fairy folk? No, they already have bodies and that means the bodies must be cared for. Demons? Too powerful and dangerous. Minor demons? Hmm. Okay.

So minor demons drive the clockwork automata. I’ll give equal time to the yucky Meat-Men creations. Wizards use spells to call, dismiss, and animate homunculi with minor demons. This means a wizard should have a partner who builds clockwork, plant, or meat-made gizmos.

Meet Kadmeion and Bright

We have solved the Potential Energy curse. I’ve also just met my two Clockpunk Wizard “good guys.” Pleased to meet you, Wizard Kadmeion. Also charmed to meet your business partner, Metal-Man Bright. We have a lot of work ahead of us, guys.  Let’s get to it.