Elian's Adventure in Avangard: Playing with Constructs

Published Dec 29, 2021, 3:52:51 AM UTC | Last updated Dec 29, 2021, 3:52:51 AM | Total Chapters 1

Story Summary

Prompt #3 - The Constructs

The hostile environment of the planet beneath the clouds has prevented life from forming on Avangard’s surface. Instead, Avangard is populated with creatures of an artificial nature. Many airships across Avangard are populated with mechanical attendants that help the citizens maintain, repair, or build the planet’s fleet of airships. They range from small ball-shaped robots made of intricately interlocking gears to unmanned ships with massive energy wings that prevent lightning from striking the aircities. More than a handful of them have escaped across the years to go on chaotic, mischievous, or occasionally helpful adventures across the fleet. Draw or write your character encountering Avangard’s robotic residents. Your submission must include your character and a mechanical construct of your choice.

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Chapter 1: Playing with Constructs

   Okay, when I said in the last story that I went 'soaring into the clouds. It's like a whole new world just opened up for me', I wasn't expecting a portal to a literal new world to literally open up in front of me and take me to a world above the clouds!

   But here I am. A fleet of red and gold airships flies before me, many large enough to hold buildings! My conjured winged wolf sets me down on the deck of a nearby ship, and I release the summon, letting the wolf vanish. There are plenty of people on the ship; some appear to be tourists, some citizens, and some look like adventurers like me. I spot a portal on the deck that leads to solid ground, likely the more conventional way of getting to... what is this place called?

   Suddenly, a sheet of paper is thrust into my face! Searching for the source, I look down to find a short, clockwork robot. I take the paper, or rather pamphlet, and the robot gives a satisfied click and rolls away on its wheels.

   The presence of the robot raises questions, so I turn to the pamphlet for answers. Let's see... Avangard, races, constructs, what an interesting place! Of course, robots are nothing new to me; Magefort, obsessed with order as it was, had plenty of magical machines. Not wanting to be reminded of my hometown, I try to avoid the constructs, but as I walk through the ship, I notice... these aren't machines.

   The way the dog-like maintenance bots seem to enjoy being pet by passing citizens, the way the dragonfly-messengers buzz happily when thanked, the way all of them seem to watch the people, as if out of... curiosity? The robots at Magefort are nothing like this! Are these constructs really robots?

   And yet, they are; I watch as one builds a dragonfly, piece by piece, gears and cogs. When it finishes, the dragonfly turns on, looks around, and flies off to do its job. When the builder construct sees my awe-struck face, it seems to laugh in amusement. Amusement! This is impossible... How much have I missed by staying in Magefort for so long?

   Deciding not to let the builder bot have the last laugh, I prepare a conjuration spell; a blob of magic appears before me, and the builder watches as I mold it into the shape of a dragonfly. I use my wind powers to imbue it with flight, then snap my fingers, and the dragonfly starts moving! The builder watches it buzz around in the air before landing in my hand.

   The builder gives an excited series of clicks, clapping its tool-hands together at the display! It seems to have an idea, getting to work building a different construct. A bigger body, four legs, a dog! After finishing, it points to the dog-bot and looks at me expectantly.

   I turn my conjured dragonfly back into a blob of raw magic, then reshape it, expanding and molding it into a dog. I set it down, snap my fingers, and watch as my conjured dog and the builder's construct dog investigate each other.

   We play our game a bit longer, the builder challenging me to make bigger and more complex summons. All the while, my amazement only grows; a machine, PLAYING! A machine with emotions would be such a disgrace in Magefort, but here, this bot is perfectly willing to take a break from it's job to play a game.

   We keep playing, getting bigger and bigger, but when the builder is practically building a small airship, one of its tool-arms suddenly falls off! It makes an irritated click and tries to put the arm back on, but it's not flexible enough to reach properly. It looks down in disappointment.

   I offer to help, but the builder shakes its head and wheels away. Curious, I follow it, and we arrive at a line leading to the station of another construct. The bot is currently working on a dragonfly-bot; another builder? No, the design is different.

   The new construct attaches a wing to the dragonfly and releases it, letting it buzz around before flying off. The next construct in line steps up, a dog-bot missing a leg, and the construct gets to work. I see, it's a healer, just like me! The repair-bot fixes up each construct in line, replacing limbs, repairing dents, fixing all manner of damage.

   The next bot in line is actually two: A construct that looks like a wagon carrying a... beaver-bot? I'd guess it usually helps with construction, but right now it's totally limp, as if unconscious. The repair-bot opens up its head to start working, but the beaver suddenly springs into action! It thrashes wildly, grabbing and biting at anything within reach! The repair-bot tries to get close to its head, likely to turn it off, but the beaver is thrashing too much.

   Shoot, it's doing serious damage to the ship! And we're lucky it hasn't decided to bite any constructs yet, or worse, squishy organic passengers! I wish I could put it to sleep with Enchantment magic, but machines don't have normal brains... or do they?

   My hands glow with an entrancing violet as I prepare my most general-purpose sleep spell. With a swift gesture, a violet cloud falls over the rampaging beaver-bot, and it falls to the ground, unconscious... Incredible. These constructs are really something special! Their minds are so alive that they can be affected by Enchantment magic!

   The repair-bot examines the beaver, seeming relieved when it realizes I only put it to sleep. After some work on the inside of its head, the beaver is turned on. It looks around, then whirs apologetically when it sees the damage it's done, but the other bots comfort it, simply glad that it's alright now.

   I was afraid these constructs would remind me of home, but the outside world just keeps surprising me. Even something as orderly and mechanical as a literal machine can be as alive and emotional as any organic life. Granted, a Magefort robot would never go haywire like this, but a Magefort robot would also never play a game with a random passerby, would never show guilt or kindness. These constructs are living things, and I look forward to learning more about them!

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