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An Illogic Puzzle [BOOK]

PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:20 pm
by Kefke_Wren
Aluria and Jee-Tran stood in the central chamber of the ancient ruin, and stared at the artefact on the altar. They had made their way past traps and ancient guardians, past locks both conventional and taking the form of elaborate puzzles, to reach this chamber, and here it was. Yet the two mages stared at the relic as though they had no notion what to do with it. Its surface was of gleaming dwarven metal, as they had expected. The stand on which it sat crackled with power still provided by the centuries old machinery of the ruin, and this too was as they expected. However, there was one thing that seemed amiss.

"It's a ball." Aluria stated flatly, breaking the silence.

"More a sphere, one should think." replied her companion, blinking his scaled eyes impassively. The argonian studied the orb intently, noting how the differently shaped panels fitted together to make it.

The dark elf's fingers clenched into a fist. Her dusky skin turned faintly purple as she gritted her teeth. Glaring at her companion, she growled. "It was supposed to be a staff. We didn't come out here looking for some new kind of sphere centurion, or whatever this thing is. Our research said very clearly that a powerful staff was buried here, left behind by the dwarves that built this place. Does this look like a staff to you?"

"No, not particularly. But then, I am not a dwarf."

"And I suppose you think that to a dwarf, a sphere is a staff, then? Even if that weren't completely ridiculous, the account we followed to get here was written by my ancestor. He saw the staff used. Do you think he would have mistaken this...ball...for a staff?"

"No, I suppose you are right. Clearly your ancestor was correct, and this is a staff before us." replied the dark-scaled conjurer. As his companion's hands raised, crackling with power, he quickly spread his own placatingly. "Forgive me my humour, old friend. I meant only that in this long time that we have been studying the dwarves, I have begun, I think, to get some small understanding of their thinking."

Aluria lowered her hands, giving a slight nod. "Go on."

"It seems to me that the dwarves thought a great deal about contradictions. They idealized the perfect un-logic of natural absurdity, would you not agree? So, all we have to do is to find the contradiction in this."

"It's a ball."

"Yes, it is a ball. I think, though, the question is, Why is it a ball? Or perhaps the more dwarven question would be, Why do I not see it as a staff?"

"So, it should be a staff, but it isn't. What is this, some ancient dwarf practical joke?"

"Perhaps more of a test." her companion answered, level-headedly.

Casting a spell of telekinesis, the dark elf mage pulled the ball out of the thrumming dwarven machine. Slowly, she turned it over in her hands, fingers tracing over the seams in the metal. Her narrowed red eyes stared daggers at it, as though blaming it for every bump, cut, and scrape she had suffered in reaching it. "Ugh, this is impossible! Look at it! I don't see any catches or moving parts anywhere."

Looking over the strange relic as his partner examined it, Jee-Tran nodded thoughtfully. Tapping his chin with a claw, he put his mind to solving the problem. The trick would be to think like a dwarf, which of course would be completely impossible. Everyone knew that the way the dwarves had thought was completely incomprehensible.

"What makes a sphere different from a staff?" he pondered to himself, "It is that the dimensions are wrong, is it not?"

"No, you're getting dimensions and proportions wrong." corrected Aluria. She held the metal orb up for her partner to study briefly. "They aren't the same thing. If it were the shape of a staff, it would be exactly the right size." She began to grow excited, looking at the device with renewed hope. "Which means all we need to do is stretch it out!"

She began to twist and pull at the orb. Her knuckles paled and sweat beaded on her forehead. However, the dwarven sphere refused to yield to her efforts. Still she continued to pull at it, her face growing purple with strain. At last, her companion reached out, gently prying the artefact from her hands. He looked from her to the sphere, his expression carefully neutral.

After a moment, he said, "I do not think that is the solution."

"As always, your opinions are invaluable. I suppose that you have it all figured out?"

"Perhaps," the argonian cautiously replied. "I think you are right about the proportions, however. At least in part. Do you remember when we were studying the school of Alteration as apprentices?"

"Don't remind me!" Aluria groaned, shaking her head. "All that holding two contradictory positions as true at once, and believing your beliefs, not your senses. With how little sense Master Tyran made, half the time, it's a miracle we were able to learn how to cast any spells of the school at all!"

Jee-Tran's scaly head gave a slow nod. "Indeed. I remember that you in particular had difficulty with it. Perhaps it made more sense to me, because your words have always sounded strange to me. Still, there is a specific lesson that I had in mind." Slowly, his claw ran around the circumference of the strange metal ball. "Look at this device. It is a perfect sphere. Remember when Master Tyran was lecturing us on abstract forms? He said that a perfect model does not exist in reality. They are useful as philosophical concepts, and for discussing ideas, but they have no practical value."

He hefted the sphere, wearing a thoughtful expression. "It was what you said about the proportions that made me think of it, but I think the dwarves would have agreed with Master Tyran. This sphere is too perfect to be useful."

Aluria gasped in horror as her fellow mage hurled the priceless relic, dashing it against the ground, but the argonian only chuckled, deftly catching the intricately engraved staff that sprung up in its place.

Re: An Illogic Puzzle [BOOK]

PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:46 pm
by sassman
Kefke_Wren wrote:Aluria gasped in horror as her fellow mage hurled the priceless relic, dashing it against the ground, but the argonian only chuckled, deftly catching the intricately engraved staff that sprung up in its place.

:twothumbs:  COOL!!!   :twothumbs:

That certainly sounds like the way the Dwarves would think; especially considering all the other things they managed to put into spheres, and cubes, and pipes, and whatnot.