Monday, October 31, 2011

Geirion’s Redemption, a Fanfic

For today, Halloween, I offer a fantasy fan-fic. In John Brunner's fantasy novel, "The Traveler in Black", part 2, Jacques the Scrivener spoke with the title character:

"... and once when I bent to drink from a stream I saw pictures in the water which... No, I dare not say what I thought I saw."

"That would be the brook called Geirion," said the traveler, and appended a crooked smile. "Don't worry - things seen there can never become real. The folk round about go to the brook to rid themselves of baseless fears."

What a concept! A magic brook which grants visions that are always fearsome, and always false; and the people use it to reassure themselves!

I propose the following back-story, and forward-story too:

Back in the old days, after chaos but before order, Geirion had great power; for its false visions terrorized the folk round about; such terror implied attention, and attention implied belief, and belief is the food of elementals such as Geirion.

But one day the traveler in black arrived, intent upon his single-minded mission of bringing order out of chaos. He quizzed a local about the magic brook; the local, perplexed, wished out loud to know the brook's true nature; the traveler said, "As you wish, so be it", and the local suddenly realized that Geirion's a liar. He and his friends took to consulting the brook to rid themselves of baseless fears; under such mockery, the brook's power waned.

Later the traveler returned to witness Geirion's last three lies. First the magic water showed the traveler a vision of Utopia, where all is right and all are happy; where there is no injustice or want or failure or confusion; where all problems are solved, all desires are satisfied, and all tears are dried; where the lion lies down with the lamb, and even lunch is free.

But the traveler threw a pebble into the water, bursting the false vision, and he said, "You are bitter, Geirion. Have you no sweeter lies?" Then the water showed a vision of Dystopia, where there is no law nor truth nor even hope of its own annihilation; where up is down, and peace is war, and fair is foul; ever plummeting yet never crashing; where bleeding never stops, and even figures lie.

The traveler broke this false vision with another pebble, and he said, "There, there. And what of yourself?" The magic water rippled, then revealed a vision of that same brook, sometime in the future, showing a vision.

The traveler said, "As you wish, so be it," and waved his staff of light. And from then on Geirion never showed another vision, but was instead merely a beautiful forest stream of pure water.

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