Character farewell

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Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2007
Dawn in a desert.
Pretty sure this one is on the way out, does not fit in anywhere so thought I'd give him an airing before he goes.

His name is Grelkin and I envisaged him as The Perpetual Servant, a sort of Sancho Panza/Pulcinella character and maybe even an answer to Moorcock's Eternal Champion.


In a huge expanse of space, a room hung suspended in a landscape of red clouds chasing themselves across purple skies, while underneath violet shadows spread over crimson fields. The colours and patterns flowed around each other, moving in and across the orientations of above and below. Mauve mountains rose above seas of flowing blood, and were then obscured and absorbed by lavender clouds.

The impulse of the head and neck was to follow the bleeding colours as sky and earth revolved, to swing one way and then the other, but it was impossible, since no single direction was ever maintained. Eventually, to stand still here, was to be turned upside down.

Only the black walls of the suspended room did not move, remaining a fixed point in the swirl, but to concentrate on them brought another perception. Holding focus on the motionless walls, drew the watcher in, and then, almost imperceptibly out, and then, with a breath, back in. Within the shifting horizon the black walls pulsed with a beat, a tiny thrum, a tap but so alive, that the beat captured the heart; a beat that mesmerised. Until breathing with the beat, absorbed with the rhythm, the tiny to and fro, the eyes expanded and saw the beat was echoed by the bleeding colours, that they followed the lead of the pulsating walls. And one was free of the room, back in the larger landscape, held in thrall to a single rhythm.

Inside the room, a huge circular platform sketched out as a clock, slowly rotated anti-clockwise, while black hands glided the other way. Overhead silver rings spun round the platform in an arc. They formed concentric bands that shaved past each other in sweeps, dips and dives and each circular band carried an hourglass in their centre. The hour glasses mostly span or flipped, and within them, the sand ran up and down as they sailed, turned and passed each other by. But in some they were still and the sand ran down, in others they were still and the sand was stopped, and in one the sand ran upwards.

Beyond the clock-face platform and around the rest of the room, in passageways, on the staircases, next to doors, on the floors, tables, shelves and in alcoves and cupboards and finally on the walls, were thousands of clocks. Large and small, made of wood, stone and metal, some whirled with a three ball weight mechanism, others rocked with a pendulum motion, while others were powered by the ticking of a clockwork release. All charted time, whether with water, air flow or weights and the rhythms and noise of their workings was tumultuous, incessant, but as one.

Precariously seated on the large second hand of the main clock, sedately playing Cat's Cradle with a ball of string, was a reptile wearing a blue dress and a plumed helmet. Concentration and intelligence were mixed in the dark gold eyes that watched its own fingers weave the string in and out of the game, while hands remained perfectly still. A feat in itself, this was doubly so since the fingers ended in long curling nails, that, while clean and well kept, could in no way help the dexterity of the moves being made.

Suddenly the figure stopped dead, the head tilted, and flipped its tongue in and out. Then in a blur, the creature belted across the clock-face, leapt through the silver rings and landed opposite a large alcove that was carved out of the wall. It had moved in an ape like way using all four limbs to grip, pull, and balance its weight as it hurtled through the room, ending up in front of a clock made of stone.

It was a pendulum clock, and the swing was slowing, each lift more laborious, the drift back earlier, the rise again smaller. The creature's eye balls moved slightly, following the diminishing arc until all motion was trapped within its motionless eyes and as seconds passed both clock and being became studies in stillness. The creature's breath was reduced to the tiniest of flutters in the deathlike drawn-out wait for another beat.

The pendulum stopped…a fingernail reached up past it and gently tapped the clock face, and as if emerging from a deep sleep and slowly waking, the pendulum moved.

The creature leapt in the air with a shout of joy or shock. And when it landed its eyes were darting around, alert and aware.

"Ooh, did we, could we have done that? Mmm. Or was that swing coming back? Now the Master definitely would want to know, but does he need to know. Something that has not happened for so long, I don’t remember since when?"

The voice was startlingly human and male. The creature looked once again at the pendulum, whose swings were now stronger but uneven, and involved forward and backward movement as well as sideways.

"I don’t remember since when, or what to do?"

He smiled and then laughed and this was joy. Then once again he acrobatically somersaulted in the air, but was suddenly gone and a humming bird hovered in his place, the wings a blur, a tremendous beat that vibrated into a crack of lightning. With the snap of the noise the bird was gone and the room empty, but for time.
I love the ethereal purple prose feel, however, it occurs to me while reading the lovley descriptions that, in fact, there are too many commas used, when a full stop would be more approrpriate, because nobody wants to read full two sentence paragraphs with many, many, commas being used.

Hi Jarshen,

I was almost dizzy after reading this. The pace of the descriptive passages is furious. It is very skillfully done and I have to say that it kept my attention to the end. I loved the last passage, it resonates with a sort of still beauty for me, odd but there you go.

Can't comment on the commas because I have a problem with using them as well.
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