14 ♦ Elexus

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Lorelai, the former Lady of the Cybers of Sixth Street, designed the blueprints for the Melody-Harmony Engine. She conceptualized the engine more than a decade in the past; but after realizing the potential of her design, she locked the secrets of the machine thrice over, then she warned her students:

"This engine shouldn't be engineered."

"Do not pursue this mathematical sequence."

"There are better algorithms. Safer answers."

I never could figure out why Lady Lorelai didn't burn her papers. If I had something I never wanted anyone to see, I'd torch it right up. Isn't that part of the beauty of order returning to chaos? Even if my body and this chair and these floorboards are made of the same atoms, they're only in these delicate forms, with meaning and purpose, because order makes them so; but fire, heat, chaos—these return objects to ash, so no one can make heads or tails of them.

If you don't want someone to see something, torch the order out of it, and it will stay gone.

Yet Lorelai kept the designs of the Melody-Harmony Engine intact, thinking she'd done enough by putting them under lock and key. Then her husband Krelian passed away, and with him, part of her mind unraveled. She spent her last weeks polishing one golem after another, willingly glimpsing into lunacy's deep dark, and at the time, I attended the Cyber School, and I looked up to Lady Lorelai very much, so as I walked through the Wizardhood's halls, my freshman-year idol atop a ladder with a rag on the head of a bald and stony golem, I had a lot of questions.

"Lady Lorelai," I'd shout up to her.

She'd look down from the ladder like a squirrel paused mid-chatter. "Yes? Yes?"

"Does the cleanliness of the golem," I started, "optimize its operation?"

She'd look at me like I wasn't there, like I was in a dimension above or below her.


Changing Schools of Magic

Back then, I thought myself a Cyber Mage of the purest caliber, a prodigy under Lady Lorelai's wing. But near the end, Lady Lorelai distanced herself from her closest students, me included; then after her death, none of her threefold precautions saved her research from Lord Vay, Chosen of the Red. So it was like all that madness she endured, all those golems she tended, were for naught.



Since then, I've felt lost. Three years later, and I'm still terribly lost. But a little stumble never bothered me.

Staggering home from the fuchsia-lit bar is especially easy when I'm leaning on Macadera's and Nalowei's shoulders, although I get the feeling the twins would never spend time with me if we weren't all chosen by Lady Aleria. Funny how people who don't like you can become acquaintances, just like that.

"We've taken a class together," I try to tell them, yet the words slur. I'm frustrated with myself. As I lean into Nalowei's shoulder—favoring it more than Macadera's slinky arm—I continue, "Which class was it?"

"Time crystals," Nalowei grunts.

"Did you pass that class?" Macadera asks.

"Fuck no, did you?" Nalowei retorts.

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