Journal of a Paladin
Episode XVII: B.O.B.C.O.B.
By Matthew R. Fleming
A.K.A. the Cheddar Paladin
The Third of December in the Year Sixteen Hundred and Ninety-seven
The tower that Emzie and Dewium inhabited stood four or five stories tall, and displayed a large, accurate clock on the exterior of the top story. Along any given side of the building were visible, moving cogs, and tubes, and other mechanical components, making the building seem alive. Compared to the wooden shacks that lined the streets of Medguard, the Velleous home stood out like a monument or a keep.
We inherited the tower from its previous owner, former presiding lord of Medguard, and our late stepfather, Sir Oliver de Larré, said Emzie, We just called him Big Larry.
So you and Dewium are Medguard nobility? I asked.
Eh, not actually, she said, The current head of this town is our stepbrother Christopher, his eldest son, who is kind of a slacker, though his sister is usually the representative of the town. They dont even live here. Thats why were usually visited by people from Winguard.
So where DO they live?
We proceeded into the tower and were greeted by one of the infamous clockwork creations of Dewium Velleous. When the door shut behind us, a compartment opened on a nearby wall and out from the opening stretched forth a coat rack. Upon placing Emzies coat on the rack, the change in weight prompted the rack to real back into the wall, and the door closed once more. Emzie naturally thought nothing of the occurrence, she used it every day. But Jordan and I found it to be refreshingly strange and entertaining.
The house was filled with such gadgets like a large mechanism in the kitchen that automatically prepares breakfast at a certain time in the morning, an intricate mousetrap, and there was even a whole room dedicated to perpetually moving a blue ball from one end back to the beginning again. Just taking a tour of the place was like a big adventure.
The walls were lined with cogs, some in motion, some at rest. Emzie explained that each of the machines in the house was powered by clockwork. Like how most machines in Winguard used a magical power source, every clockwork device in the tower used a lever to connect the corresponding cogs to a system of gears that lead to a perpetually active master turbine that was stored in the lowest foundation of the tower. This turbine never stopped turning, and kept the house active at all times.
To demonstrate, Emzie pulled the lever to activate a machine used to produce, of all things, a block of ice. Once the lever was pulled, one of the inactive systems of gears on the wall began to rotate, with a surprisingly dulled whirring sound. As the machine worked, Emzie said, The sound is low because of the thickness of the glass in front of it. Dew didnt want anything getting into the machines so he made sure the glass was pretty unbreakable. As a bonus, its not as loud as it should be.
After moments, a large, rectangular tube descended above the kitchen sink, was internally shaken, and then ascended back into the ceiling, leaving behind a cubic foot of frozen water. Ice. And it wasnt even produced magically.
? asked Jordan, looking as perplexed as I felt.
Its complicated, said Emzie, Youd have to ask Dew.
Yeah, where is he at? asked Jordan
Hes probably in the basement, working on his stuff, she answered, Ill take you there soon, but I really wanna show you guys something cool.
Emzie took us down a flight of stairs and into a room with two doors, one with loud banging noises coming from behind it, and the other was quiet, but looked heavier and had several locks on it. We went through the one with the locks. There was a long tunnel, lined with a large amount of gear systems on either wall, moreso than the other halls. The tunnel looked like it was recently constructed. At the end was another door, heavy and locked. Emzie unlocked it and we all proceeded through.
The room was lit up from holes dug into the ceiling. Apparently we were underground and the tunnel lead into a clearing in the forest behind the tower. The room itself was very big, but most of the room was behind another wall of glass, so the feeling of being in a tunnel persisted. Behind the glass was an environment suitable for many types of animals featuring a small pond, a waterfall, a stream, a meadow, and various plants from the Medguard area. There was also a sort of small building built on the stream, making some use of the moving water by means of a water wheel.
Whats all of this for? I asked.
Just wait, Emzie said, opening a glass door into the artificial world. She stepped into the meadow while Jordan and I stayed on the other side of the glass. She knocked on the door to the small cottage and to our amazement something knocked back! She opened the door and beckoned whatever it was to come out. Then, some sort of animal awkwardly moved out into the sunshine. And two more were right behind it.
They all stood upright, on two legs. They had muzzles and very large eyes and wide mouths. Their ears resembled those of a bat or maybe a type of rabbit; long and pointed anyway, and sticking outward. Some had a mane of hair on their scalp, at least one didnt. They had tapered tails with a tuft of hair at the end, similar to lions. Each of their paws had claws on the end. Each one had other distinguishing features. All three were chanting EM-ZEE!! EM-ZEE!! like children would call to their mother.
She would tickle them, and she fed them carrots and cheese, and then they went to do whatever it is they wanted to do. Emzie exited the glass world and asked us what we thought.
Jordan asked, So
what are those
I really dont know, she said, I was looking for bugs to study one day, and I found them near the mountain, in a grotto at the base. They were just eggs then. Dew and I kept them somewhere warm until they started hatching. That brown one with no hair, she pointed to the creature in question, his name is Rob. He was first. Dew set up this awesome place for them underground and hidden from the town. And his clockwork things are what keeps the water flowing in.
Just then, one of the creatures, one with green fur and a blue mane began hitting rocks with a stick. He looked like he was having fun but the other two seemed annoyed. Emzie said, Yeah, thats Lunary. Hes Dews favorite. Dew would play some lute for them all, and Lunary started keeping beat like that.
Is there any reason why hes green? I asked.
Well his egg was. I guess thats why, she said, He hatched by the light of the full moon, so we named him after it.
Oh, said Jordan cynically, That explains alot.
Whys that one so
large? I asked, pointing to the final one. It had cream colored fur, and a long mane of white hair. It was taking a bath in the pond.
Oh, thats because shes pregnant, said Emzie, Her names Ginger. Shell lay another egg soon. I think that ones Lunarys. The first two were Roys.
There are eggs? I repeated, not seeing any eggs.
Yeah, Emzie said, Follow me. She led us to another door at the other end of the massive room. Inside the room was a chamber of some kind. Thats the B.O.B.C.O.B., she said.
What is it? I asked.
It is something Dew came up with to help with the breeding, Emzie explained. She pulled a lever and a compartment on the chamber opened up, revealing two eggs in a heated environment. Both were coffee colored, like a mix of Roy and Gingers fur hues.
So whats B.O.B.C.O.B. stand for? asked Jordan.
Youll have to ask Dew, said Emzie, He invented it. She closed the chamber and we exited the BOBCOB room. She waved to the creatures as we walked by the glass, and they all waved back. We went back down the tunnel and into the room with the loud sounds behind the other door. Emzie pushed a button beside the door and suddenly the loud sounds stopped. We waited a moment and then the door opened.
Yeah, what is it? asked Dewium Velleous, work goggles attached to his forehead and a large wrench in one of his hands, Oh, hey, guys. Sup?
Nothin much, said Jordan, Stuff. He shrugged like he had been blind to all of the fascinating things we saw in the tower.
Well come in here, said Dew, I got some other stuff.
Stuff, I repeated, so I didnt feel left out.
The workshop had piles of boxes filled with various parts and scrap. A large portion of his scrap was old iron and brass armor and dulled weaponry. He had stacks of cogs, and piles of rope and twine, and various molds. He had stores of lumber and iron ingots, a forge, and other large machines that Im sure only he knew the proper use for. It was part workshop, part warehouse. Throughout the room were tables with different projects on them.
At one table he was working on a clockwork knight. At that time, only the upper portion was finished. It resembled a suit of armor, except at different places, the joints in particular, there were noticeable gears sticking out. His right arm was a permanent lance, and his left arm ended in a shield. He was composed of various styles of discarded armors, so he appeared to be an eccentric and poor knight. One who had to take whatever he could get for his pieces of armor. But he was completely armored, or what was there of him was.
He doesnt look that threatening, said Jordan, I can take him.
Well, yeah, hes not supposed to be, said Dew, If anything, hes just a distraction. Something I can put back together so they can send him out again.
Yeah, thats why I said I could take him, said Jordan.
In an effort to change the topic of conversation, I interjected, You have many fascinating things in this tower, Dewium.
Thanks, he said, The great thing is, they keep paying me and giving me all the stuff I need to make these things just so I keep making the metal men for them. Its pretty sweet.
Certainly is, I said, By the way, about the ice machine.
Yeah, its complicated, answered Dew, I really dont wanna get into it.
So what does B.O.B.C.O.B. stand for? asked Jordan.
Well, uh, nothing really, answered Dew, It just sounds cool. It rhymes, yknow? So I was like, yeah, BOB-COB. And thats what I called it. He laughed.
In approval, Jordan said, Cool.