spell jammin', across the universe

the spheres edge

it’s after the nightly meal one night on Glims ship. Everyone feels relaxed and in a good mood, even managing to forget what may lie ahead of the travellers. Glim is in good spirits this evening, looking better than he has for most of the journey so far, even breaking out a bottle of gnomish spirits for an after dinner drink. After a glass or two, and the tales start to get tossed around the table. Finally, it comes to Glim’s turn.

‘You know, this story about the disappearing planet of yours Thul, reminds me of another. About 40 years ago, a couple of the major Merchant groups on the rock of Brall got together with some mages, some gnomes, and a few others got together to find a solution to the toril-krynn travel problem. Now too-tall, don’t go needlessly furrowing your brow and working that brain of yours, I’ll explain.

The three major universes are realmspace (this one), krynspace and greyspace, each one encased in a sphere of crystal the size of which boggles the mind. Each of these spheres float like huge corks in the phlogiston, a gigantic rainbow hued sea of highly flammable gas. Like an ocean of water, the phlogiston is always moving, with flows, and currents and storms. Now, if you imagine the three main spheres like points on a triangle, with greyspace at the top, and realmspace and krynspace the two bottom points, then currents in the phlogiston flow from the apex to base and back on both sides, but not from one side of the base to the other. This means, if you want to travel from Toril to Krynn, you need to travel by way of Oerth, which, as you can imagine, is expensive and time consuming. There are other options, like travelling against the flow, and such, but these are even worse.

Anyway, these companies got their best and brightest together to try and figure out a way around this, and they thought they did. Between the mages, the dwarves, the gnomes and everyone else, they rigged up a contraption, something about entering a different plane, and folding space, and being in two places at once or some such. They attached it to a Dragonturtle class ship, christened her The Spheres Edge and, with a full crew, left The Rock with great fanfare. She was going to start here in realmspace, travel slightly to get up to speed, activate the engine, and, as the theory goes, end up in Krynn space and pass off a platinum statue of Fharlanghn to the awaiting welcome group. A flotilla of onlookers, socialites and investors, myself included, travelled out with her to watch this momentous occasion, watched her sped up and we all cheered as she fired up her engine and disappeared in a giant red flash. We stayed and partied for a few hours, and then travelled back to the brall to wait for news of her arrival.

Weeks passed, and with no news, and a few people started to worry. A few weeks later, and news started to filter through that there had been no sign of the Crystal Sphere. A few weeks later, and the words ‘failure’ and ‘catastrophe’ where started to be bandied about. After six months, the organisers of the experiment where quietly moved out of their jobs, and the research was filed under ‘not to be retried’. People scoured and scryed for ages to try and locate the lost crew, even searching the astral plane, and no trace of them was ever found. For a few years after, on the day of the tragedy, a moments silence was held to commemorate the losses, but, after a generation or so the practise slowly withered away, along with the memories of the Crystal Sphere.

I always wondered what happened to those travellers, always kept a hopeful eye out for them as I passed around the spheres the slow, old fashioned way. That being said, I’ll never forget that there was a moment, when the Crystal Sphere disappeared in that flash ,that, for a split second, even through the airlessness of wildspace , I swear I heard the most god-awful screams I’d ever heard. I’ve always put it down to the atmosphere of the day, and the drunken revelry around me at the time, but the thought of that noise, even today, runs a chill down my spine.



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