Story: Bibble, Bibble, Bibble
This story is set on a far off world in another dimension, unrelated to the world of Autumna, and is intended as tribute to the successful conclusion of a fantastic Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Thank you Don, for introducing me to Dungeons and Dragons, inspiring me to world build, and sending me down this crazy rabbit hole. I am not sure if it has been a blessing or a curse.
In the dreary town of Augenheim, Bibble, a gnome with the rare gift of Chronomancy, was engrossed in an intricate experiment in his workshop. The space was cluttered with arcane instruments and mechanical parts, the humming presence of Humphreys, his steampunk golem and loyal companion, filling the room with a steady rhythm. Bibble's silvery eyes flickered with concentration as he moved his hands in intricate patterns, chanting ancient incantations that twisted the threads of time. His usually bright countenance was clouded with deep focus and an intensity that set the air in the room on edge. As he pronounced the final syllables, reality seemed to hold its breath before a rift in time and space tore open. A multitude of voices emerged from the rift, each a variant of Bibble's own, originating from different realities. However, the explosive outburst of energy from the rift fractured Humphreys into a heap of cogs and gears, silencing the once animated golem. Simultaneously, scattered across the vast continent, the ancient seals keeping the Perils of Aeon at bay shivered and cracked. The dangerous artifacts, notorious for nearly decimating the world once before, awakened again, threatening imminent chaos. What ensued was a tormenting cycle of decades, experienced again and again by Bibble thanks to the power of his Chronomancy. Each repeated timeline was marked by his relentless efforts to repair Humphreys and prevent the unleashing of the Perils. Yet each iteration ended in failure, driving him deeper into desperation. Through the rift, Bibble found himself in a paradoxical alliance and rivalry with his own selves. Many echoes of Bibble across realities lent their assistance, offering different perspectives and ideas to mend the temporal tear. But amongst them were chaotic reflections, versions that reveled in this disarray, delighting in Bibble's failures and working against him at every turn. With every reset of the timeline, the jovial gnome was slipping further into a sea of desperation and madness. His workshop, once a sanctuary, had become a maelstrom of confusion, with his multiverse selves contributing to both the solution and the problem. However, Bibble, even on the brink of sanity, was an embodiment of undying resilience. Each failed attempt, each thwarted plan fueled his determination to right his wrongs and restore his companion. On the latest iteration, a band of strangers appeared at his workshop, a half-blue, half-gold elf among them. Their sudden intrusion caused Bibble to jolt, accidentally spilling a vial of luminous arcane essence onto Humphreys' disassembled form. The gears twitched and hummed, and a brilliant light filled the room as Humphreys jerked back to life. In the midst of Bibble's dimensional pandemonium, the soft metallic rumble of Humphreys filled the room. The golem moved, pistons pumping, gears turning, and its eye aglow with a warm light. Humphreys, now alive and functioning, spoke a single word that echoed through the workshop - "Compliance".