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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 magic, crafted herself a golem ship. She used this ship to secretly spread the knowledge of magic 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 spine fused into a single rigid piece. He became fascinated with the spine that was monstrously large, by gnome measurements. 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 Heim Temple 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 keel 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 while the gears would 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 six inches 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 wills it to activate and it casts its magic.   Monstrous as the spine was, it was not big enough to serve as a keel for anything bigger than a keelboat. As Korillo began to design a keelboat sized version of Boki's ship, Thimys convinced him to instead make it look like any other keelboat.   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 also 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.   Korillo set about crafting the Gosling. When the Gosling was complete, Korillo simply gave it to Thimys. 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 is 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 contains the once enslaved soul the Hrokentorm had bound into it when the spine had been crafted for a golem. Boki freed the soul but it chose to remain within the spine and serve Boki. When Boki 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 in a ghostly way. This was a godly reward for his service to her that the spirit, who called himself Cloudfang, lovingly accepted.   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 that runs the length of its keel, 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. On water, it can move against the current without oars or sail, though at a slower pace than either. Each gear can be activated to provide additional magical effects once per day.    

The Gears

  CHRONO GEAR   This gear allows the Gosling to speed through time for a moment, doubling the distance it can travel during that moment.   LOOP GEAR   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.   FYR GEAR   This gear allows the Gosling to teleport to a place it has been before.   ROTO GEAR   This gear provides the Gosling with a magical Shield of Force for a short while.   TIPE GEAR   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.   STAR GEAR   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 a short time.

Cloudfang's Dream Quest

  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 or her devoted. 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.

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Cover image: Garzio the Tome by Noupload

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