Astrolabe

Astrolabe

The pursuit of knowledge is never that alone. History is marred by the malevolence and egotism of those who proclaim otherwise. It was written on the hallowed halls that surround Zain as they made their way to their lessons.

Today’s was to be led by Quyyum, a man few could tolerate and even fewer respected. But he held a high position within the symposium even if he was relegated to lecturing the likes of Zain and their peers. Quyyum didn’t give the appearance of being a lecturer or really having much knowledge worth regarding as his face was that of a fighters. His nose, what remained, had been flattened and his cheeks with them. It left him with a reedy lisp when he spoke that if you weren’t directly in front of him made it hard to follow along.

Zain needed to do more than that. They needed to comprehend. This symposium had been going on for two years already. Zain had only been invited within the past six weeks, such was the urgency that all scholars, knowledge seekers and truth-tellers were welcomed. Albeit begrudgingly by those who had first formed the committee.

Their goal, Zain’s too, was to save the world. Before any of them could do so, they had to figure out the actual nature of what was threatening their exists. That posed a big problem, as all it did was lead to endless debates and pointing fingers. Two years on though and those gathered were still at it, even when tempers rose and fists flew.

Quyyum was often on the receiving end of those temper tantrums, which was why Zain was happy to sit in on his lectures. They didn’t mind how mad the man sounded. What they were there for was to examine the intricate little devices that dotted the table before them. Each was a construction of brass and glass that spun their own patterns and cast lights about the room even during the brightest hours.

Zain sat each lesson listening but staring intently at the whirring and whirling before them. When called upon they would speak but otherwise spent the time in silence, appearing the dutiful student writing notes when in reality they were sketching the movements of all upon the table. Today there was a new device and Zain was too busy studying it to notice Quyyum’s attention was focused on them.

“Do you have anything to offer?” a voice over Zain’s shoulder asked.

Zain ignored it and kept about sketching the latest object. It’s orbs spinning in tandem about one another casting cerulean light across the table. The voice came closer an ask once more, “Do you have anything to offer, Zain?”

Munching on the end of their pen, Zain didn’t even turn to see who was addressing them and said, “mmm… well what causes it all to happen?”

A wheezing laugh followed. Which got Zain to turn and see their lecturer leaning over them. Quyyum once he stopped laughing said, “Oh those, they’re nothing. Meer toys, concern yourself not with them.”

“How could I not?” said Zain, “they’re so beautiful. And they glide without effort or interference.”

A smile followed and Quyyum stood straight to address the others in the room, “These contraptions are little more than ingenuity and applied physics.” He picked the latest up and held it before the class.

“This one seems the most complex because it is the simplest in that it has the fewest parts. Can anyone guess to its workings?”

A few hesitated answers but none were right. Leaving Quyyum disappointed, so he turned to Zain, “You’ve been studying them, do you have a theory.”

Zain flipped through their notes to some of the earliest before looking up and answering, “The so called deep earth magics you claim create layers throughout our realm?”

Quyyum nodded, and said, “No. It is no magics. It is real, and what you see before you is a demonstration of that. There are parts of our world that attract and repell one another like two wrestlers in the courtyard!”

“This, this is a demonstration of those very aspects,” he said holding aloft his creation. 

“Then what accounts for the spin,” asked Zain.

“Oh I did that,” offered Quyyum, “it’s little more than wound spring in the base with bits of the particular earths attached moving and in turn those pieces being repelled following as the tides move them.”

“Tides, as in the sea?”

“Quite possibly, though I can’t get it to work on any sizable scale with water.”

“Can we see those attempts?”

Quyyum looked out a door to the courtyard beyond with its bubbling fountain. “No. Not anymore.”

He shook off the reminiscence and turned once more to Zain, “Come to my workshop later if you are interested in these.”


Today’s art is courtesy of Steve Shi from Maryland, USA.

Goldleaf Etchings

Goldleaf Etchings

Costume, Uniform, Dress

Costume, Uniform, Dress