Dragon Stone: Temporalis

“Thaumaturgical archaeologists beware, there is a reason the Elder Mages are no more.” Jeremiah Delalande, lecture on the Philosophy of Magi.

Beneath the Keep, home to the Amanuensis among others, lies a Vault recording history as it arrives and moves on. Three senior figures have access, of which the Amanuensis is one. By comparing these fixed records with books outside its thaumaturgical fields it is possible to determine if history is changed. Several Guilds exist to deploy corrective measures if such temporal changes occur. Since chronomancy was banned several centuries earlier much of the knowledge has become here say and myth. Even the three book keepers have never encountered a time where time itself was failing.



“Tea thaumaturge?”

“Your usual herbal concoction?” replied the Amanuensis.

Jeremiah Delalande grinned. “Of course, what else is there that could kick a mule in the dark?”

The magician nodded and cast a gaze back to the tome resting on his desk. It spoke of legends and, in particular, words that repeated over and over. Ordinarily this would not cause disturbance. Books in his library often changed, representing fluxes in time that altered paths. Destinies ever-changing representing decisions made deep in the past due to the banned art of chronomancy.

Books ever-changing. His mind stood awhile contemplating that, and a line from Delalande’s treatise entitled “On Chronomancy.” Deja vu is, if you like, a psychic alarum suggesting reality has fluxed.

That was disconcerting him now.

Jeremiah, have we not had this conversation before?

“Not to my knowledge, although pondering matters of many sorts often goes with tea, so it is not entirely possible some do recycle on occasions.”

The Amanuensis stared into his cup. A delicate affair of some antiquity, the exact age he could not recall, nor exactly when it became the prime vessel without which the brew suffered. “Your book suggests deja vu is not to be ignored idly yes?”

“Indeed,” Delalande was becoming intrigued.

“I have distinct recollection of this conversation repeating.” He considered this before adding, “Not this part, the initial discourse pre-empting the deja vu.”

“I see.”

“I rather think you don’t. Things are in flux. The Vault alarms have detected thaumic dissonance. The true chronological record has become corrupted.”

“Meaning?” Delalande peered over his tea. He was used to riddles and theatre from students, not from one of the three that had access to the Vaults time library. Deja vu was infective. It was his turn to have a sense of paramnesia. “The dwarf and elf. Is that the familiar haunting your cognisance?”

“You are catching on Jeremiah. Our previous conversation may well have occurred in a different phase of reality. One you now seem to have recollected.”

“But, as before, this means history has been changed and the future hewn from its true direction.” This part always fatigued his mind. “I feel I’ve asked this many times too, but if chronology has altered why is it our mental resources have not adjusted to memories within the new time stream meaning past recollections from the former have been erased?” He drained his cup.

“Perhaps they have. This conversation flowed differently last time. I mention this purely out of deep uneasiness. This deja vu is not based upon a recent realisation of something happening previously. This is happening concurrently right now in a different time continuum. Ours has just deviated from that reality.” The Amanuensis felt it pertinent to move onto the balcony. It was something his counterpart in the other wherever was doing about now.

The linguist followed. “I assume these conjoined conversations in different realities are quite normal to you Sorcerer?”

“I fear they will be.” He placed his hands on the balustrade and sighed. Two vistas blended back and forth. One he cared not for. That was ice and decay. Inevitable given the sequence of events leading to this nexus had not been unpacked. “Do you see the land of ice here?” He waved his hand showing the view he was referring to.

Delalande looked, squinted and looked some more. “No, I see merely what has always been during my lifetime. A green landscape beginning to show signs of summers end. It appears my limits of foresight are a memory flickering between two versions of this present. If not for you this might easily be an artefact of longevity of years and entirely inconsequential.”

“But for deja vu?”


The Amanuensis sighed deeply, turned and sat back into his favourite armchair. It provided a good view of his desk where two candles burned when the light of day faded and parchments needed researching. During colder times it also benefitted from an old fireplace. “The dwarf and elf are beyond the Cromlech now. That point of reference has become fixed. I feel they are inadvertently dislodging Elder magic during their research for the Guild.”

Delalande chuckled to himself, “Yes, the thaumaturgical archaeologists.” He felt the irony of ignored lectures. Leave Elder Mage artefacts alone. Their civilisation was advanced and we, by comparison, have just moved from reinventing the wheel. To dabble in unknown prestidigitation was at best unwise and bordering foolishness.

The head of that Guild dismissed such with arrogance and a degree of addiction. By no coincidence old texts on Elder artefacts already revealed disturbing side effects on those insistent on ignoring warnings. The way of the researcher come knowledge enthusiast. A thirst that blinded all to potential dangers. Something that had collapsed more than one civilisation he’d wager.




“Do you ever feel like someone’s watching your every move?”

The elf sorceress smiled to herself, “Like a guardian angel perhaps?”

The dwarf rolled his eyes, “Aye, that would be your familiar would it not?”

If she had been human Yish would have blushed. “That obvious Naz?”

Laughing he replied, “Far be it from me to mock such. The bond is enviable.” He let the mirth die, “But seriously, there have been several times it’s felt like eyes watch every move. Ever since the Cromlech. I can’t decide if it’s ghosts within the ancient places we visit or someone walking on our graves.”

“There will be many millennia for the living to do that when our times are over Naz.” She stooped to add kindling to a fire needing attention. “Somethings wrong though. Ever since the split by the Elder portal. You delivered to the Keep in ice and ruin, me to the scene of our routed battle where the dragon keeps vigil over the bones of its race.”

Naz nodded, “That seems long ago now. Ever find out what became of the girl?”

Yish shook her head. “Time is distorted. That was over a century ago. And yet, it’s displaced in my chronology. I drift between catching up with Ras and him evading us to die at the wyverns maw. It makes no sense. His book was written long after so we must have intervened.”

The dwarf poked the fire with little enthusiasm. “I have similar disoriented memories. The Keep I did visit, heard the Amanuensis from a distant place. All we knew was destroyed.” He paused as his mind wandered, “He asked of you. I think I told you. In one version of memory I did, in another not.”

“Somethings very wrong Naz.”

13 thoughts on “Dragon Stone: Temporalis

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  1. It was great to see the Amanuensis interacting with a “real” other person, after seeing him isolated for so long! But I wonder — is this an alternate timeline Amanuensis we’re seeing, where he didn’t strictly get locked into the bubble? Or is this a between timelines, hence the incongruencies? Or is this prior to the fall of the Keep? I love this sort of time-bending stuff! I can understand why chronomancy was so feared and desired — dangerous to play with, but the potential is so incredible. I think we’d all struggle to say ‘no’ if offered such powers!

    Also, the revelation that Ras died (of sorts) was a bucket of cold water to the face. As was the line about the events being over a century ago — a very “what the f—” mind-twist. I hope Ras can be saved just in time (pun intended) — I’m rather partial to that character!

    I’m still a bit confused by parts here and there — from my own knowledge gaps — but I’m really enjoying piecing the bits together, it’s all very satisfying from a reader’s point of view. Oh, and the outro line of “Something’s very wrong, Naz” was really cool! Has a wonderful air of foreboding about it.

    I do hope to see all of this weaved into a full-length book — sooner rather than later! 🙂

    1. Just to make you more confused…. there is a link in this one to the conversation first time round. The deja vu part is “real” as I did another short story for SOCS ages ago whose prompt was also “tea.” Aside from the first paragraphs that conversation tracked differently. It also explains the Vault a bit too.

      In time lines this is before the fall of the Keep. It’s the point where the Amanuensis first detects somethings gone wrong in chronological history. It’s why he’s seeing different presents. They are in flux suggesting the corruption is new even if it’s origin is long in their actual past. The stream you’ve followed thus far is where they can’t get the Monks of War to reverse the effect. Thought I’d slip that in as I’m toying with Templar’s there as a Guild sworn to guard the Keeps temporal history. If they are sent back to rectify a fault they get stuck. However there are Guilds throughout time they can join to safeguard themselves against further rifts by being absorbed into those Guild histories. Who knows…but the fall of the Templar’s might well have synchronised with the fall of the Keep in another plane of existence.

      Ras had two paths depending on the history being set. Three if you include the time line. The battle where Morgan was lost was dated a century before this conversation. In my world build dwarves and elves have long lifespans. As do many of the Keep as there time passes differently. Question is did he die of old age or did The Black consume him? Not written that bit yet!

      I can “feel” a book…or series of them… much better now too. The whole concept I’m finding very fascinating myself. Probably got enough in BB stories to actually peg together for a prequel too now 🤔

      Thanks for the mojo in this comment too Joshua. Always nice to see someone finds it intriguing…if a tad confusing!

    1. Thanks Bella! I’m rather looking forward to the full version too. Unfortunately I’ve not started it yet. I’m using BB to trial back story ideas and get to know the world build and characters. I’m finding that quite entertaining really as it’s all stream of conscious writing so I’m never quite sure where it will end up!

  2. I can see I shall have to settle in and have a really good catch up read as this excerpt is simply NOT ENOUGH! Vivid, immediate description of the action that as the comment above said would quite easily translate to screen…and to coin a phrase – “I’ll be back!” 🙂x

    1. Late again! I must check in more. There is a link at the start of this that gives the original conversation referred to here as deja vu. Most of my BB stories dip in and out of this story arc. None of it is WIP material though. Thus far it’s all back story. Tonnes of it alas. Also links into Dragon Stone which is the working title… if I ever start writing it!

      Be good to see what you do make of it actually. But be aware it’s not all in order as I’m scene testing while getting to know the characters….which are, sadly, old friends! Sadly mentioned to imply where’s the book(s) ha, ha

  3. This excerpt points to possibly a longer story. What I liked best here was the confusion, the muddiness in both sets of characters as they puzzle out the past — and the future, nicely mixed in, perhaps abetted by the prompt — tea!

    1. Spot on Beth. Many of my BB entries explore this particular world. This actual post links to the conversation referred to too. The deja vu part does exist there so it’s not a hypothetical one. They have actually had the conversation.

      I also me BB to wander around backstory. It’s helping me learn about the world build and characters.

      I’m glad you saw the confusion too. This part of the story is before things go pear shaped. A sort of warning point where what’s happening is slowly creeping up. The confusion should be exploring that. Something off, but they can’t quite figure out what.

      Other readers probably have a better idea though lol. They see this story flip between characters in different times and worlds. Often that creates confusion too!

      One day I’ll actually start the actual WIP!!

  4. This timey-wimey stuff is getting very deepy-weepy! The reference to memories changing as chronology gets messed up brought to mind a scene in Dr. Who where he explains the complicated memories of time travelers. Reading the exchange between the Amanuensis and Jeremiah tickled at my own memory. If I remember correctly, isn’t Jeremiah a bit of a … malefactor? I tended not to trust what he was saying here!
    The conversation between Yish and Naz was equally entrancing. The reference to ‘the girl’ and Ras and how things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be gives a very ominous touch. I think the next time I experience deja vu I might feel a little creeped out … thanks, Gary! 😉

    1. The fellow whovian strikes back! The link in this post shows the previous conversation in full in another short piece.

      Jeremiah is actually quite high up in the Keeps hierarchy. Head of thaumaturgical philosophy which is where he gets cynicism from due to his knowledge of the extinct Elder Mages. He often see people in societies as their own antagonists. His actual grasp of the intricacies of how The Vault works is, however, limited at this juncture.

      The other linked post does explain how this world under the Amanuensis can correct chronology errors “in theory”.

      Deja vu, I believe, was also used in The Matrix too! Clearly it’s a very underrated mental alarm bell 🤔

  5. Liked this 🙂 Once again, you nailed it. But, gosh, the plot thickens and it leaves us wanting more. At this rate, I’ll have no nails left 😉 Love the conversations between each set of characters. You have a knack to write a scene that is easily envisioned. One that would transfer to a movie set no problem 🙂

    1. Thanks Helen! The plot I’m finding fascinating really. Trouble is it’s all backstory and I’ve not actually written anything that might be considered part of a book! That said I’m liking this short story thing wrt being able to flip about in their timelines.

      Tea Thaumaturge, the original is still one of my favourites mind!

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