Mesmerrack

Dreams encased in stone.  
Ancient relics from Patala's doomed past, Mesmerrack are thought-metal symbols of impossible intricacy with the power to enthrall those who gaze on it. Within the prismatic swirls, people lose themselves to hallucination or find the gates of their minds swing wide. The art of making Mesmerrack was lost with the antediluvian folk of Patala, and every piece found has been dragged from bone-strewn charnel pits and ancient tomb-cities. Every Seerstone is a priceless artifact of a bygone age, the last trace of a lost folk.    

Description

Forget silver, forget gold, forget all the tales of glory you've been told - this is the true treasure of Patala.  
— Sundarata, Patala Artisan
Mesmerrack has been found in several different shapes, from prayer-rolls to large tablets, with only the elaborate patterns of thought-metal in common. These are key to the Mesmerrack's power, with the material holding them decorative. Some hold that the material used is some hint of their function, or perhaps even a key, but it remains as speculation. Enough Mesmerrack have been unearthed for patterns to emerge, but not enough to draw conclusions from - with many Seerstones damaged or fractured into several pieces when found.  
Especially not with every holder of Mesmerrack guarding their finds jealously.
 
by Midjourney
The pattern of thought-metal in each Mesmerrack is layered and deep, a labyrinthine depth of prismatic design. While the smallest piece of Mesmerrack are only a few centimeters deep, the most potent Seerstones can be ten or twenty centimeters of tangled constellation. Such is the complexity of those Mesmerrack impossible to decipher where one part ends and another begins.   The shell of the Mesmerrack has been found as stone, metal, or crystal - others may have existed, but been long since devoured by the hungry gnaw of time. The exposed thought-metal is sometimes covered by a plate of metal or pane of glass, or the shell richly decorated by carvings, gemstones, horns, and parts of unknown monsters.
 
Some Mesmerrack are integral parts of the structures they are found in, embedded into the pillars or carved into the walls. Whatever purpose these places might've once have held is the topic of much debate in Patala's taverns.
  Mesmerrack beguile and enrapture those who gaze into them. They resonate with something within the human mind, reacting with them almost like a narcotic. The longer and deeper someone stares into the Seerstone, the more pronounced the effects become.   Among the pieces of Mesmerrack that have been discovered, a few common variants have emerged.  

Wonderrack

Sometimes called Drunkstone or Wonderrack by those who've enjoyed them, Wonderrack allows users to drift off into a blissful or psychadelic haze with nothing more than a long stare. Most Wonderrack are smaller than the other, more intricate kinds, rarely larger than a human head. Some are richly decorated and ornate, found in the greatest number in the grander tombs. A few Wonderracks of great size have been found in what is assumed to be public gatherings of some sort, set aloft for the mass entrancement of all those gathered.   The effects of Wonderrack range from a pleasant buzz as after a few drinks, to powerful and revelatory hallucinations. To most who have used them, it is intoxication through their gaze alone; comparable to other powerful narcotics. The effects usually last for an hour, with some enduring for as long as eight. Each new look into the Mesmerrack extends to rush, and some users spends entire days in such a stupor.   Such Mesmerrack is highly sought after, attracting attention from powerful figures as far away as Mharaji. Enterprising souls have set up dreaming dens, where customers can lounge around and bask in the prismatic light of Mesmerracks.
 
by Midjourney
  Though Wonderrack has not seemed immediately harmful, prolonged use induces a lingering mindfog and fatigue. Some users describing as a sort of sore ache within their head, or that something inside their skull is moving. But the induced bliss is never muted and never cease, and so some continue no matter the discomfort or pain.  
As users drift deeper into the dreams by looking into the Wonderrack, their vision is soon so altered that they can no longer focus on it, serving as a natural limitation of how far into the drunken haze one can go.
 

Mindrack

by Midjourney
A more refined kind of Mesmerrack, Mindrack sharpens the minds and memories of those who use it, to the point of fixation. Only a few pieces of the Mindrack, or Focustone, has ever been found, making a much rarer treasure to happen upon. Every piece found have been large and fixed into position, found in the form of large metal tablets or obelisks in the center of what may have been studies, centers of contemplation or consideration.   Those who have stared into the Mindrack have claimed to feel a clarity unlike any other, able to recall every memories perfect clarity or concentrate on problems with obsessive ferocity.
Not everyone who have opened their mind with the Focustone welcome the change, remembering horrors they'd long buried. Everyone has something they'd rather keep forgotten.
Such focus can become a double-edged sword, with some users becoming unable to shift their thoughts to anything else until the puzzle in front of them have been solved. The acuity granted by the Mesmerrack lasts for an hour, with repeated looks into the stone lengthening the duration. The effect lingers even after the user has stopped looking into the Mesmerrack but slowly turns into a numbing fatigue, leaving users too tired to think, even though obsessions remain.  
A variant of the Focustone is said to grant not clarity, but artistic inspiration. Such inspirrack or Musestones are even more rare than the Mindrack, numbering less than a handful discovered in all of Patala.
 

Heartstone

by Midjourney
    Usually simple and unadorned, similar in size to the Wonderrack, Heartstone invokes emotion of terrible intensity, ranging from anger to despair. Looking into the Mesmerrack stirs the heart and forces it to feel, making it an unusual and not always prized treasure.   Some have been found at the entrance of tombs, warding its contents with a tangiable sensation of dread, and at least one appears to have been mounted on a banner to be carried into battle. So far, every Mesmerrack have compelled general feeling, never about anyone or anything.
Most Heartstones found have focused on the dark side of the human heart, invoking fury, fear, anguish and more - perhaps as a result of where they've been found, dredged from ancient graves and robbed from tombs. They're often given names related to the emotion caught within the thought-metal, like Angerrack, Despairrack, or Fearrack. Although they're not as highly prized as other kinds of Mesmerrack, inventive minds across Patala are sure to think of uses for them.    
Explorers searching for Heartstone take almost as much joy in figuring out the names for them as with the treasures.
Thought-Metal   An iridescent metal found in the deepest reaches of Patala, Thought-Metal bends not to a blacksmith's hammer, but to thought and dreams. It is found nowhere else in Araea but in Patala, and integral to the construction of Mesmerrack.   As a result, Mesmerrack is found only there, scavenged from ancient graves or made in crude imitations.   Read More About Thought-Metal

Seerstones

Mesmerrack is sometimes called seerstones, believed by those who wield them to hold the powers of clarvoyance or fortune-telling. This is especially common among charlatans who have constructed fake Mesmerrack, and will happily sell the secrets of the future to anyone gullible enough to fall for it.   Others think the Mesmerrack work as tools of divining, leading to great treasures or ancient cities still lost in the dark. With every rumor, the value of true Mesmerrack rise.  
Fake seerstones often use mercurcy mixed with quartz dust or crystals carved from the Plains of Glass, with most swindlers claiming their Mesmerrack to be too powerful to gaze upon before purchasing. No refunds.

Shrikes

Nightmarish moth-things that dwell in Patala and live in the shadow between thought and reality, Shrikes are a constant danger to any would-be Mesmerrack treasure hunters. The Shrikes are drawn to all thought-metal held by human hands, their thoughts ringing out from it like a dinner bell.   Mesmerrack rings even louder, and those who use them carelessly soon hear the chittering, chirping song of hunting Shrikes.  
Shrikes, the Thought-Eaters
Species | Jul 28, 2022

Hungry things that live in the gaps and shadows of the human mind, dwelling and feasting and spreading through fear.

Being made of thought-metal, Mesmerrack is fragile once in human hands.   With just a stray thought, the Mesmerrack can tangle into useless if shiny clumps of metal.
by Midjourney
 

The Cenotaph

A city of tombs, the Cenotaph is the final resting place of a doomed and forgotten folk, a marker for a civilization lost to the dark. It is also rich in Mesmerrack grave-goods, hidden in urns filled with human ash or locked behind crypt or sarcophagi.   The looters have arrived in force now, sifting through charnel pits brimming with bones and ash-filled rooms for the prismatic gleam of gold - or Mesmerrack.  
The Cenotaph
Settlement | Jul 27, 2022

The final resting place of a folk, their names and story lost to the dark.



Cover image: by Midjourney

Comments

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29 Jul, 2022 16:30

"or that something inside their skull is moving" OH NO!!

30 Jul, 2022 07:49

Just some light grey matter re-arrangement. :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
29 Jul, 2022 16:57

This is an amazing idea! I love all the properties and uses you've found for thought-metal and how all new article seems so logical from what we already know. And I just love the idea of this ancient civilisation that would control their citizens like that. And each new thought resonating with the thought metal sending an amplify call to the shrike in the dark of araea! And now all those people who are sending even more thought metal through the rest of araea despite everyone having just decided it was a very bad idea to do so... The description of wonder rack also reminds us of that far deep creature who is sending parts of his body as thought metal and that we would almost forget with all this excitation :p they must be quite happy to have all the mesmerracks be discovered again and to not have lost all of their hard work XD

To see what I am up to, here is my civilisation challenge article.
30 Jul, 2022 07:50

Stay tuned, I might write about that "creature" next after Summer Camp. >:3


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
30 Jul, 2022 15:19

Quite the variety of uses! Still, I think I'll stay away. It sounds like a good way to lose yourself.

Reading Circle Temple Because magic isn't just fiction
30 Jul, 2022 16:21

It certainly is, and that's part of the story-inspiring fun :)


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Forgemaster Dimitris
Dimitris Havlidis
31 Jul, 2022 19:12

Absolutely incredible work - thank you so much for sharing bud! Also you have done some MIND BOGGLING Midjourney work man!

Join me, become a Sky Pirate in the world of Lyra!

31 Jul, 2022 19:42

Thank you!! <3 :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
9 Aug, 2022 14:30

First: the art in this article is so stunning! Definitely adds to the work. Reading about these different types of stones felt like an adventure in itself, and I'm left pondering what types of things I might see in them myself -- even if I don't find it too appealing given the negative effects!


Seek a new dawn, in Malkora!
Check out Antecedents, my entry for On the Shoulders of Giants!
9 Aug, 2022 15:42

Thanks! :D   At the mildest, they can be compared to a narcotic or intoxicating drink... But one you inbibe just by looking at it. All things in moderation, except the secret one that... Oh wait, almost gave away the plot secrets! >:D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
14 Aug, 2022 23:23

Nice work! I really like how you laid out all the different types of mesmerrack. It gives you a sense of scale for how many different uses and forms this technology comes in, leaving lots of potential plot hooks. I also like how you used the side bar area to provide information that connects this tech with other aspects of the world.

15 Aug, 2022 05:42

Thanks! :)


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.