Ayrenn ran her fingertips over the Dwemer Servitor's segmented body. At each junction she reached into the unbronze casing to briefly touch the shards of crystal that translated its master's requirements into action. The Augur of Dunlain Falls observed with great interest, from his perch somewhere just behind her mind.
"Sphalerite. Consistent with Dwemer animology. None large enough, I'm afraid."
What are you trying to hold? asked the Augur. There are at least two grand soul gems in there, between the neck… the second segment and the forward baseplate.
"Yes, I found both. Neither is quite 'grand' enough to hold your soul. Don't let that go to your head though, once you have a head again."
Well, no. I suppose not. There aren't any black soul gems in there. Necromancy was never my strong suit.
Ayrenn sighed. "The Ideal Masters have truly corrupted the arts of conjuration in Tamriel, if even you believe that you can't store a sentient soul without marmatite."
Startlement echoed through the Augur's essence, causing goose bumps to erupt along Ayrenn's spine. You mean that's not true? A white soul gem could hold a black soul?
"There are no 'black' or 'white' souls, Augur. I'll explain more, but first we must see to your own soul, and your body as well." Ayrenn reached up toward KINMUNE's shimmering singularity, and grasped what seemed like nothing but empty space. She pulled her hand gently away, and in it she held something clear and regular in shape. Through her eyes, the Augur could see that light passed through it, but it was the wrong light. She held it low in front of her chest, but through it the Augur could see the roof of the cavern, and the dimly-lit hole where he had chipped away an entrance.
"This is more convenient in any case. KINMUNE's shell is constructed of crystallized un-space. Imagine pushing everything out of a room. Not just the solid things in the room, but the air, the world itself, leaving a void emptier than Oblivion. Into that void the Kynians blew a kind of glass into threads so fine they would appear as fog, if you could move your eyes into a space with no space." the Augur felt his awareness come to the fore, feeling and seeing everything much more clearly. The clear shape Ayrenn held was inviting him to enter, but not demanding. Without hesitation, he allowed his perspective to fall into the crystalline void. Ayrenn was next to him in a simple room with white marble walls. Through the pane of a great window, the Augur could see the chamber they had just left. The viewpoint was waist-high, as if he were seeing through the Dwemer Servitor's crystal eyes.
The whole scene felt so natural that it took him a moment to realize that he had a body for Ayrenn to stand beside. She was insubstantial and flawless, just as she had been when KINMUNE used her form to speak to him. "Welcome to my home, Augur. This is the part of KINMUNE's un-space core which once stored the essence she used to create me. It responds to your will, within some limits. If you imagine a bench and a teamster's reins, you will be able to use them to guide your Servitor as if it were a horse-drawn cart. The Servitor can also hear you, if you wish to give it direction."
"What are we going to do about my body?" asked the Augur.
"It is already done," Ayrenn replied. "Imagine this door should you ever need to see it," she said, gesturing toward a blank wall. Two steel slabs the size of a barn door manifested in place, sliding smoothly apart to reveal a chamber larger than most castles. At the near end, the Augur could see a pair of feet, their toes towering over his head. Legs stretched away into the distance. The body was his own.
Ayrenn waved her hand again. The door closed and vanished, the marble taking its place as if it had never been. "This realm is non-spatial," she said, "it's 'real', as you know the word, but it doesn't naturally have 'volume'. I used some of its power to make this home for your soul. I invested far more to make room for your body. I had intended to leave it behind, but this solution addresses both concerns."
The Dwemer Servitor appeared beside her, occupying much of the room. Next to the mathematical perfection of Ayrenn's chamber, it looked like a rusty centipede. Ayrenn slipped her fingers into the gap behind the servitor's second segment. Her hand was empty in the marble room, but in KINMUNE's cavern Ayrenn held the un-space crystal, which snapped into place between the two soul gems. All three flared with an actinic glow. At once the room began to echo with every hiss, clank and creak within the Servitor's metal frame.
"We must move quickly now," said Ayrenn. "As you were ignorant of the threat to your kalpa, the events were orthogonal to your existence. You could have lived your entire life and the cog-wheels would not have shifted a millimeter. Now, your existence parallels the disaster as your understanding grows. From my perspective, catastrophe is hours away. You still have weeks, but that will change as you learn what you must know to prevent it. For our first step, we can make use of the Atmorans' discovery, which you passed on your way to find me. Can the Servitor return the way you came?"
"Let's see," the Augur replied. He closed his eyes for a moment, and when he reopened them the Servitor's image was gone from the room, In its place he faced a complete Dwemer interface panel. Wheels spun, then clicked into place as their markings matched the pressure, tension, and torque throughout the Servitor's mechanisms. Instead of leather reins, a bank of levers and switches curved around a throne of granite and brass.
Ayrenn blinked at the console, her mouth slightly open as she tried to phrase a response. The Augur spread his left hand wide, pulling two levers at once, as his right hand twisted a third lever. In KINMUNE's cavern, the Servitor circled Ayrenn in a single, smooth motion, its forelegs climbing on top of its own hindquarters. The foremost segment pivoted toward her, and she saw the two control gems, with her crystalline home between them. One of the two gems darkened for a moment. In her un-space home, she stared at the Augur, who was winking at her.
"Yes," he said. "We can go wherever you like." He flipped two more switches, and the three central segments unfolded into a curved saddle. "Can I offer you a ride?"
This story is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License and includes content from the SCP Wiki.
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