Aging Gracefully, by Chris O'Kane

Story name: Aging Gracefully
Author: Chris O'Kane
Publication date: January 20, 1999

Overview

With Madog's examination finished, the group discusses Madog's origins, and come to a startling conclusion.

Summary

It is late in the afternoon, soon after the events of Exam. Although most of the examination is complete, Misha is still unable to answer for sure if Madog is under his control, because Madog is blocking his magic. Sindia points out that Madog is the name of a Suielman emperor who died 1500 years ago. Rickkter suddenly runs from the room, remembering something. The others discuss the possibility of the Suielmans making automatons, and conclude that it is possible. The conversation turns to whether they can trust Madog.

Rickkter reappears with an ancient book, which confirms that not only could the Suielmans attach a life force to an inanimate object, they performed experiments that could fuse a life force and a soul with an automaton; however, many of these automatons went uns table over time. Vernosa must have rebuilt Madog as Misha did, and recovered enough information to repair Madog's internal magic.

Jon and Misha is angry at the way Rickkter disparages their efforts; Misha does not question that Madog is stable, and possessing a soul. Rickkter points out that, of the eight people in the room, only he and Jon could have read the text. Misha and Hough again plead to both Rickkter and the Duke to give Madog a second chance. To everyone else's amusement, Madog begins eating the Duke's candlesticks.

As Thomas gives his decision, Misha, Rickkter, and Matthias wait outside. Rickkter and Misha apologize to each other for their behavior, and Rickkter takes his leave. Madog emerges from the Duke's chamber. He is told to follow Hough and Misha, and not to eat any more of the Duke's property.

Characters

Main characters:

  • Misha: An amateur mechanic who repaired Madog. He is very fond of his automaton, and is given charge over him at the end.
  • Rickkter: A warrior and newcomer from the East. He is one of the few who can read the old texts regarding the Suielman Empire. He distrusts automatons, but abides by Thomas's decision.
  • Madog: A fox automaton. A study by Rickkter reveals that, although much of his body has been replaced and updated over the years, he himself was created between 2500 and 2800 years ago.

Supporting:

  • Duke Thomas: Duke of Metamor Keep. He is holding a examination of Madog to determine his fate. He gives Madog over to Hough and Misha's care.
  • Sindia: Duke Thomas's personal scribe, a leopard morph. She takes complete notes of Madog's examination.
  • Wessex: A wizard who specializes in foreign magic.
  • Father Hough: The Keep's Eccleisan priest, a child morph. He loves Madog and defends him at every turn. He is given charge of Madog with Misha at the end.
  • Charles Matthias: A close friend of Misha's.
  • Jon Sleeper: A quartermaster and amateur artificer.
  • Smithson: An archaeologist.

Referenced:

  • Vernosa: The minor Duke of Grammont and Madog's repairer 350 years ago. He had some magical ability that assisted him in Madog's construction.
  • Magus: A powerful wizard of the Keep.

History

  • The Suielman Empire built automatons years ago, though the secrets behind the most sophisticated models was a close secret; only fanciful stories confirm their existence.
    • Many popular stories say that they were used to assassinate the emperor's enemies.
    • Miscellaneous stories tell of an automaton built like a woman with spikes to stab lovers; a gold horse for the emperor to ride on; a bronze ax-wielding minotaur automaton.
  • The Suielman Legacy: A history of the Suielman Empire. Probably contains information on their automatons.
  • The Mysteries of the Monolith: An ancient catalog of artifacts. Probably contains some information on automatons.
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