I must dispel Glouphrie's illusions.
If I succeed in creating a device that nullifies illusions, I will be able to bring Glouphrie to his knees. As history has proven, where anti-illusion devices exist, Glouphrie does not remain. By dispelling the illusions that hide his home, I will take from him what he took from me.
Illusions need light to exist. From what Ilfeen tells me, Glouphrie probably creates illusions by magically generating light then trapping it into the right shape. She had many long-distance conversations with Oaknock when he was researching the matter, and she knows a fair bit about his research.
Oaknock's device worked on the premise of breaking the magical bond that traps light in a particular shape, which is why it works from a certain distance and from underground. But his design was very complicated and involved the use of materials I cannot get my hands on, such as glass. Also, it cannot be carried around.
On one hand, I want to be the one pressing the fateful button that will reveal Glouphrie's treason to the world and bring his house down; on the other, I would get no satisfaction unless I saw his despairing face as I did it.
- - -
I will take a different approach. Instead of breaking the magic, I will cancel the light it holds. Light has very interesting properties. When crossing various beams of coloured light, they collect together and the resulting light turns white. So, by using a device emitting the right shade of light, it will mix with the light from the illusion and temporarily dispel them, Such a device would be portable, I gather, and would be ideal to sneak in without alarming the locals.
I talked to Ilfeen of my anti-illusion idea. She thinks it might work. She gave me a light crystal and a few crystal seeds to start experimenting. She sang one of the seeds for me, and it turned into a perfectly circular crystal coin. It is, apparently, the first basic shape that crystal singers learn to sing when they start practicing. They then move on to an array of other shapes.
She told me how the most advanced singers can sing crystals into bowls, which, in turn, can sing the simplest of songs. She said that Oaknock used crystal coins, like this one, in the construction of his device, but his were hand-painted to form a range of colours. Perhaps painting one of these will help me research coloured light.
- - -
Lletya's seamstress has a fantastic range of dyes in her shop. I went to buy some and, when I came back, there was a crystal bowl in my lab. Ilfeen was there; she smiled serenely, then wished me a happy birthday. How I have lost track of time, that I didn't even realise I'd turned 100! How she knew this, I do not know.
I sang my first coin using the bowl. Quite the exciting experience! The coin is circular and translucent. I shone a light through it, and the light came out dimmed – this may become useful.
- - -
Painting the coins with dye makes the colours quite dull and the beams quite faint. I don't think the colour is quite bright enough to help with any illusion-dispelling.
- - -
I left the bowl in the corner yesterday, and it partly filled with water dripping from the wall overnight. Out of curiosity, I sang a coin with the bowl in that state. The pitch was higher, and the coin I got out of it had a different shape. It was a triangle! When placed in front of the light, the triangle dimmed the light a fair bit less than the circle. I removed some of the content of the bowl, and sang it again. The result looked almond-shaped. There seems to be a correlation between the filling of the bowl, the number of sides of the resulting shape, and how much the light dims when a light is shone through.
- - -
I managed to colour the light coins! Targeting a light crystal onto a prism splits the light into many colours, like a rainbow. Later, a beam of yellow-coloured light accidently landed on the singing bowl. The bowl started glowing with the colour of the beam and, when I tried singing a coin… my coin ended up yellow! Putting the coin in a beam of white light changed the colour and brightness of the beam. I must experiment to see what happens when I combine various shapes and colours of coins.
- - -
Through various combinations of colours and filling of the bowl, I managed to make 42 different types of coloured coins! There are 6 possible shapes and 7 possible colours. Putting two coloured coins on top on each other and shining white light through them gave me an array of very dull, dark colours; however, shining a beam through two coins separately, and crossing the resulting beams, allowed me to create an array of bright colours. I'm on the path to the solution!
(Picture of colours and their number value)
Light in the rainbow comes in a range of colours, from red to violet. But illusions come in many more different colours! I saw, with my very own eyes, how Glouphrie disguised himself in a palette of colours, including a flesh shade: definitely not one of the colours of the rainbow. If illusions are made of light trapped in magic, they must be combining shades of light, just like I have.
- - -
I mentioned my theory to Ilfeen. She went to rummage in one of the houses and came back with a faded coloured coin. Elves used to use light and colours as a safety mechanism, using a variety of coloured crystals they brought from across their home world. They had very few of these crystals, and the majority were used in the Third Age, or so goes the story.
(Picture of colour wheel)
The colour wheel shows six colours. Opposing colours cancel each other out. Of the six, three can be combined to make the others; these three are red, green and blue. It's probable that these are combined via magic to create illusions. So, in theory, by emitting the other three colours in the right intensities, illusions could become completely dispelled.
To confirm if the theories are correct, I need to find an illusion and experiment on it. I wouldn't know where to look! Wherever Glouphrie is, he is hidden behind an illusion, but that's all I know. He's probably out there in the mountains and I have no hope of knowing where.
- - -
Ilfeen comes as a saviour yet again! She convinced the village trackers to teach me all they know. That way, I will able to spot things that don't feel right: proof of Glouphrie's doing, and experiments there.
- - -
I wouldn't have thought it would be so hard to become a tracker. The number of things you have to know and pay attention to is mind-boggling! It pains me to admit that gnome trackers are not quite as good. This may take me years!
- - -
I have become so aware of the things around me it's untrue. If there are illusions about, I will know where they are – even if I don't yet know what's required to dispel them.
- - -
Back from my expedition! I can tell that all those years of tracker training have paid off. I spotted a rock in the mountains that looked a little off – the shadow wasn't quite right. I reached for it and my hand vanished into it. It wasn't real! I crouched and felt the ground. It was quite nauseating to experience the difference between what I saw and what I felt. I touched something that felt like a pebble, and picked it up. My hand appeared to hold a small pile of dirt, but it most definitely felt like it held a pebble!
I've tried focusing various intensities and colours of light on the pebble. Focusing cyan, magenta and yellow light beams at the dirt made the illusion waver. The light intensities are not quite right, and the beams are too focused to reveal the whole pebble. I need to disperse my coloured lights to affect a larger area.
- - -
Shining a light beam through a crystal that is flat on one side and pointy on the other disperses the light fairly evenly. Three of these, spreading the three coloured beams, made the illusion waver, even from quite a distance, although moving the installation is quite an awkward thing to do. I should secure the system in a built device.
Building the device
I have made a working portable illusion device. The light intensities aren't quite right yet, but I can sort the calibration later. The blueprints wouldn't fit in these notes, so I've left them on the worktable. The items requited to make the device are as follows:
2 Long planks (for the sides)
2 Medium planks (for the top and bottom)
6 Short planks (to panel the front and the back)
2 Strips of fabric (for the straps)
1 Light crystal (the light source)
1 Long crystal (for the cyan beam)
1 Medium crystal (for the magenta beam)
1 Short crystal (for the yellow beam)
Some rune glue (to hold the lot)
It's just a matter of following the blueprint!
I have tried all combinations of the right beam colours. IT seems the quantities needed for each change every month or so. What made the pebble appear the other day doesn't anymore. I can't imagine taking countless crystal coins with me when I look for Arposandra. The noise would give me away. Would Ilfeen be able to help?
- - -
Ilfeen told me she could do something about it, if I gave her the pebble and some crystal coins, but I may have to wait for a few years.
- - -
Ilfeen just gave me a calibration box! A marvel of gnomish engineering, if my eyes don't deceive me! Could it be? Oaknock? No, he died before I was exiled! Yewnock?
- - -
I was right! This is one of Yewnock's devices! Ilfeen still has contacts east of the Galarpos Mountains, it seems, and she managed to get the pebble there and got back a calibration device built on it. How extraordinary! Maybe I could start sending things back to my family in the Tree Gnome Village: perhaps even tell them I'm still alive. Maybe, one day, I can find a way to communicate remotely with them. If Ilfeen can do it…
- - -
The device records the intensity that is needed by each colour of light to dispel the illusion, and then outputs it. The two coins I need for each beam of my device should match the target colour and intensity shown in each column of the calibration box.
The output colour is a combination of the colour of the coins, proportional to the number of their sides. For example, e combination of a red circle and a blue hexagon gives a mix of red and blue which contains six times more blue than red. The calibration device displays a colour wheel per column. When I insert a couple of coins, it displays their colour on the edge of the wheel and draws a line between them, on which the resulting colour is marked. The position of that marker along the line depends on the quantity of each colour in the mix. This should help me to see what colours I can combine to obtain the colours I need. Interestingly, if I put in two colours of coin on opposite sides of the wheel, their combined colour will edge towards white!
The output intensity of each combination depends on the colour (red is 1, violet is 7) and the number of sides (circle is 1, hexagon is 6). Their product gives the intensity of each coin. A yellow triangle would have an intensity of 9 (3 for the colour multiplied by 3 for the number of sides). The intensity of a combination of coins is the sum of their individual intensities.
The device doesn't show me my current intensity exactly, but, if it is incorrect, it will show me an arrow pointing up if my guess is too low, and down if my guess is too high. With this, the configuration should be pretty painless!
I experimented with the calibration device to find out what combinations of coins gave the pure cyan, magenta and yellow colours that I need. Here are the colours and ratios of combinations that give valid colours:
Equal quantities of blue and green.
Equal quantities of red and blue.
Three parts of red and four parts of indigo.
Red, and twice the quantity of violet.
Equal quantities of red and green.
Green, and twice the quantity of orange.
Any quantity of yellow.
Once my machine is set, I can look for an entrance to Arposandra!
After a century of learning experimenting and searching, I have finally found it: the main entrance to Arposandra! Now I need to prepare myself to go in and take dispositions, in case I do not come back.
Appendix – Shapes
Shows pictures of shapes corresponding to the relevant amounts of water in the bowl.
Appendix – Colours
Shows pictures of the colours with corresponding numbers.