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Wheel of Wandering

Fawkes Fairchild stared at the page in Grandfather's journal, too stunned to realize his jaw had dropped so open that his toad familiar, Hoodwink, could have jumped into his mouth.   So THAT'S why Grandfather always locked his fancy ship's wheel in a vaulting house whenever we took a lengthy stay, he thought.   Fawkes looked out the cabin door to the rather plain ship's wheel currently mounted on the helm. And why Grandfather never tossed out Old Moldy there, he realized. With a laugh, he returned to reading Grandfather's journal.

The Origin

  The Wheel of Wandering was first made during the time of the Hrokentorm Empire, an empire of magical giants who ruled all the civilized world. It was during their rule that the art of Golem Craft came to be. As the golems became more numerous, and powerful, they were turned into war engines. Battered wrecks and scraps could be found everywhere. It was with several of these scraps that Boki, the young goddess of sevrets, crafted herself a golem ship. She used this ship to secretly spread the knowledge of magic, which she had stolen from another god, to those who were not giantkin, in direct defiance of Puliro, the god of the sun.   When she was done, Boki dismantled her golem ship, taking the godly bits she herself had made to hide in her domain within Godsheim. The remaining pieces, the parts she had taken from the Hrokentorm golem scraps, she hid throughout the world.  

The Discovery

  Nearly five thousand years later, a very curious gnome named Korillo Kreegan, found a crystal that looked like four back bones fused into a single rigid piece. He became fascinated with the spine that was as tall as he was, a whole three feet two inches. The spine contained immense magical power that could not be drained. Korillo scoured the libraries of the world to learn how to access its magic.   In one of those libraries, Korillo met Thimys Fairchild, a scribe from the Appelkamp Monastery which held a massive library beneath it. This humble scribe was also an acolyte of Boki. Between them, they began to unravel the secrets of Korillo's mysterious spine. The two learned that the spine was but one part of what had been the helm of Boki's magic ship. Further study revealed that there were gears they had to put together inside the hub of a ship's wheel. It would draw out the power within the spine then form the power into various magical effects.   For many years they adventured, looking for the gears. When the last one was found, it fell to Korillo to figure out how to assemble them into a ship's wheel they named the Wheel of Wandering.  

The Craft

  Korillo had six gears that were each as big around as his head. He had to somehow put them together inside the hub of a ship's wheel, an area only one foot across. With the use of expensive spell scrolls and much crafting ingenuity, he shrunk the gears down to fit within the hub.   The six gears formed a circle with their teeth barely touching. The hub holding the gears was then welded shut. Nebulous magic filled the spaces within the sealed hub, threading itself in vaporous ribbons between the gears.   Six rivets held the hub together, each one passing throught the center of a gear. Touching a rivet head that passed through the appropriate gear, the master of the boat simply willed it to activate and casts its magic.   Thimys Fairchild suggested that Korillo design a typical looking keelboat rather than rebuild Boki's great ship. Korillo at first resisted and was bewildered that an acolyte of Boki would not want to honor his goddess with a replica of her ship. Thimys pointed out that Boki was the goddess of secrets. What better way to honor her than to make a keelboat that could hide itself amongst other such boats and appear unimpressive to would-be thieves. Such an arguement made sense to Korillio and he agreed.   Korillo set about crafting the Gosling, a name that he felt very fitting as Boki's ship had been named Desh Honka, which meant Gray Goose. When the Gosling was complete, Korillo simply gave it to Thimys to test and keep. In true gnome fashion, Korillo was already fascinated with a new curiosity and no longer cared about the Wheel of Wandering.  

The Catch

Fawkes jumped up and swore at Grandfather's journal.   "Don't write about all the wonderful things that fancy wheel can do, Grandfather," he yelled at the book. "Then turn around and write that none of it's possible unless I carry out the quest in my dreams. I don't have time for a quest, dream or otherwise!"   Hoodwink croaked out a laugh. Fawkes glared at his familiar and took a deep breath before sitting back down to continue reading.
  The crystal spine also contained the once enslaved soul the Hrokentorm had bound into it when the spine had been whole with more than four backbones and built into a golem. Boki freed the soul but it chose to remain within that spine and serve Boki. When Boki finished her work, she hid the spine. The spine served as an anchor for the soul to remain behind and carry on, as was the way of its species. Though only a spirit, the soul managed to continue to carry on the ways of its people. Boki allowing him to remain in the world and bonded to the spine as a soul is bound to a body was a godly reward for his service. CLoudfang, as the spirit called himeself, lovingly accepted this great reward.   When the Gosling was complete, Cloudfang visited Thimys Fairchild in his dreams, exacting the price of a quest for the use of his soul anchor. The acolyte of Boki completed his quest though it was terribly difficult. For the rest of his days, he commanded the magic of the spine with the Wheel of Wandering. With his recent death, that permission is gone.   What quest will Cloudfang demand of the grandson? Well, only time will tell.  
  This exquisitely crafted ship's wheel is three feet across. Once mounted on a vessel that has a magical spine still holding a soul, or just a piece as is in the Gosling, the Wheel of Wandering draws out the power of the spine. Its gears then convert that power into various magical effects. There is currently only one Wheel of Wandering, though other gnomes have taken up the challenge of crafting their own. This has led to daring gnome expeditions into ancient places in giant lands in search of more magical parts that might still exist.  

The Workings

  The Wheel of Wandering contains six mystical gears made of a mysterious alloy of metals and magic once forged in a volcano. These gears rest within its hub. As a whole, they provide the Gosling the ability to levitate and sail the skies.   For years gnomes have been making boats and ships with the magic to move without sail or oars, though its slower than either and the Wheel providing this ability was the least fascinating of all the things it could do.   Each gear can be activated to provide additional magical effects once per day. Thimys Fairchild enjoyed experimenting to discover what all the effects were.    

The Gears

  This gear allows the Gosling to speed through time for a moment, doubling the distance it can travel during that moment.  
  This gear allows the Gosling to become a faded blur, making it possible to hide on open water and frustrate the aim of enemy weapons.  
  This gear allows the Gosling to teleport to a place it has been before.  
  This gear provides the Gosling with a magical Shield of Force for a short while.  
  This gear creates an illusion that shows a map of the area it is in out to ten miles and points out the best routes for the Gosling to take by water or air.  
  This gear aims an attack against another ship that alters gravity around it, making it sink down or rise up by a hundred feet for three moments then returning the targeted ship back to its original position on the fourth moment.


  Cloudfang enters the dream of the master of the Gosling. In that dream, he demands that the master of the Gosling carry out a quest against some foe of Boki.   This is often dangerous and may involve strange magics. It is the way of his kind to protect the world from great wrongs, and if taking care of these wrongs also helps Boki, so much the better.   In addition to allowing Thimys use of the spine, Cloudfang has, on occasion, assisted him.   Will he do the same if Fawkes completes his dream quest?   We shall see.

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Cover image: by jw432


Author's Notes

Thanx to JamesWoodwright for inspiring the gears!

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