Book Of Sculptures


Image statuebook.jpg
Description The opening of this book suggests it was inspired by old exhibits at the Art Museum at Metroplex University before its destruction. In theory, they're supposed to recreate the same exhibits, but you'll have to compare notes to find out.
Type Offhand (Artbook)
Use See notes
Effects +4 Etheric Power


When using this item you get the message:

The book is divided into thirteen stories. You flip it open to one at random.

Followed by one of:

Once, there was a very old woman in the forest. She was not well loved, but every family knew better than to cross someone that old or that canny.

And who would cross her besides? She brewed marvelous potions and made sure children were born bright of eye and straight of limb… if she liked you.

So, everyone brought her their pregnant daughters for blessings and everyone brought her pies and stews to curry her favor. The rich even left her gold and trinkets, even though she insisted she did not want these things.

But they all ignored her tree, because it no longer sprouted leaves. No, from her tree hung the hands of all those who had insulted her.


He saw her descend, her feet never quite touching the mud. She looked down with wild eyes, standing above the drone sinking into the mud next to him.

She spoke in a language he did not, could not understand. But she was not speaking at him, not even looking at him.

He opened his mouth to thank her, ask for mercy, spit out curses… something, but his mouth was filled with the taste of acid and iron. She touched his chest with the tip of her spear, gently pushing him back down into the mud.

Then, with one arm, she picked up the drone like a child and, pulling it from the mud, climbing back towards the sky's glimmering lights.


He looked up at the glimmering lights in the sky, checking them for signs of movement, trying to remember which ones were lights unbelievably distant and which they were fighting for.

The chill of the mud seeped into his veins, its replacement for the blood he was giving it. He faintly remembered an explosion, but it seemed ages ago.

He remembered instead pushing through the mud, he and his drone, trying to capture some bit of clear ground or another.

But now, it seemed, the mud had won. He looked at the drone, gazed into its blank eyes as they gazed back into his, as the mud consumed them both, circuit and scrap.


He waited impatiently for the door to open. It had been so long… the house barely looked like the one of his memory. But he'd doublechecked the address and had the drone verify as well. It, at least, couldn't be wrong.

Surely they couldn't have forgotten that he was due back today. Seven years… surely they'd been counting down the days?

The drone rotated its neck to look up towards him and he smiled down at it, patting it on the head. It wasn't a real dog, but nobody would fault him for treating it like it was. Besides, a real dog wouldn't have lived through what they'd been through. He'd never be sure how he'd lived through it.

Finally letting his impatience get the better of him, he raised his voice, shouting for his mother, his father, his sisters… anybody. But, despite the lights in all the windows, despite its thin pressed fiber walls, no one responded.

He remained on the doorstep, talking with his drone to pass the time. It couldn't talk back, but the way it looked at him sometimes, it was easy to believe it knew what he was saying.

When he suggested just trying the knob, his drone whirred in warning, but he had given up on waiting.

His hand passed through the door.


It's said that each of us wears a mask, but few know that we've been wearing them for so long we've forgotten why.

Beneath the mask lies something twisted and wriggling. It can't bear the light, but you can see it sometimes, looking into people's eyes.

You can see it in the moment before they make the big choices. When to run. When to fight. Who to betray. Who to kill.

With each wrong answer, it twists around them, pulling them closer and closer, until it's just below the surface… until the mask is paper thin and everyone can see the thing crawling beneath.

And when you laugh or shun them, look in the mirror. Look in your eyes and about the hard decisions you've made.


We all wear masks. Our parents, our friends, our lovers, our professors… each has a different mask. A mask for every person we know.

Some of us may think that those masks belong to us, but Carol knew better. She knew that their Carol-masks belong to her, because they could never exist without her.

So, before she left for college, she went from house to house, to every person she knew and collected their Carol-masks. Because she was moving away and they'd never need those masks again.

Now she's getting ready to graduate and take all those masks with her. Every friend, lover, professor, and nameless face on the Quad. Because you'll never need your mask again.


She strode through the campus, glaring at those who dared look at her. Years ago, her grandmother had said their ancestors could kill with a glance.

If that was so, she'd never mastered that art. The spears she gazed were purely metaphorical. But every day on campus she found someone more deserving than the day before.

She began practicing the throws in her mind, killing those who angered her. The frats, the poets, the evangelists, every last one of them.

And one day, seemingly like any other, she succeeded. They fell, pierced with heavy stone spears, far more solid than metaphor. She rejoiced, killing those who'd angered her or done her wrong or passed by without a smile.

Until she found the thing that her grandmother hadn't mentioned. Her hand, her body became heavier with each spear, so like stone she was mistaken for a statue.

They found her a home with the other statues, who never rolled their eyes in mockery or bit her with their sarcasm. But she could still move, still kill, if she was given a reason… the slightest reason.


Suzy knew there was no such thing as monsters. They didn't live under your bed or in the basement or even in the closet.

If she hadn't known, the scratching in the basement might have scared her. But she knew better. It was a mouse like mommy had said.

Suzy didn't even mind the mouse in the basement. Mice were cute and certainly couldn't hurt her. Not like rats. Everyone knew that.

But it wasn't a mouse or a rat. It wasn't even a monster. It was mommy making sure the bad kids could never hurt Suzy.

Suzy left home one day and went to college safe and sound, never knowing what was in the basement, never knowing why no bad kid had every laid their hands on her.


Things moved beneath the surface of the lake, slipping through the depths and singing ancient songs.

The darkness holds them where we can never see and we should be thankful for that. The water keeps them where we can never hear and we should be thankful for that.

But ages ago, their writing washed up on a shore far from here. In that distant land, shamans argued at the words' meaning and alchemists followed its unspoken recipes. The shamans lead the land to a golden age, but the alchemists…

One day, an alchemist discovered a new elixir. He tested it first on animals, finding it harmless, then on himself. And he could see into the depths of the ocean, into the depths of the world.

The things were waiting there, whispering to him, giving him new wisdom, telling him what the writings truly meant.

And with that knowledge, he murdered his land. He killed the other alchemists first, then pulled down the shaman kings and melted their statues for his war machines. He gathered every man, woman, and child in that land and burned them in a great conflagration.

Finally, when all the rest were gone, he concocted the strongest poison the things knew. He drank it without hesitation, passing forever from this world.

And for this, the alchemist should be remembered as a great hero, for this was all the cost of stopping the things of the deep and burying their secrets. Would we do the same?


Every day she woke up and carved at the tablet. Every day she poured every gram of her skill into it, making the letters perfect and clear.

Language didn't matter, just lines and curves. She couldn't read a word on the tablet, just copying it from the book she'd been given. But it was good work and, heaven knows, she couldn't be picky about that. Rich patrons didn't fall out of the sky every day, especially ones this rich.

After months, she finished the last letter of the last line. She collapsed to bed and slept the sleep of the fulfilled.

The next morning, she was woken by the rich gentlemen who had contracted her. She couldn't recall telling them she was done, but lead them into the studio.

The most talkative grinned his jack-o-lantern grin and pointed at a blank amid the lines. "You missed a spot."

She bent to look, afronted by the suggestion but impossible to resist doublechecking. She never heard the needler and barely felt the pain, noticing only her blood spraying on the finished tablet. She tried to whisper an apology as she slumped before it.

They waited in silence for the blood to dry, set the charges, and carried out the tablet just before the building fell into a pit of flames. And despite a dozen witnesses and even more deaths, no case was ever opened.

Nor were the men seen again, except standing in the distance on Halloween.


The sculptor knelt over his finest creation. She was beautiful, perfect, and now held the spark of life.

He invited her into his life and so they lived. Every morning, she woke up at his side, and every morning he checked for an imperfection.

Each imperfection was chipped away; a flake of stone every morning. And so she remained perfect, the jewel of his eyes.

Until one morning, there was nothing left.


Todd knew better than to go to the Halloween party. He could party tomorrow, if anyone was still in the mood.

But he still knew it was funny he was in his room, studying his insect collection on Halloween. Lined up, row after row, pin after pin, he studied them every night since he'd heard that the genius who revolutionized Midgard's drones had done the same.

Maybe it was a lie, but it was a ritual. He peered at the fresh stag beetle, wondering how to replicate its pincers with polysteel and its mind in circuits.

Finally, he had it. It was so simple, it was genius! Of course!

Then with a roar, green flames raced up the walls and the building bucked like an angry animal. He never even saw the support that came down, never knew it was pushed by a hand greater than his, pinning him amid his collection.


As he watched the spider devour the fly, Sergei wouldn't have argued with you if you said it was creepy. But it was also beautiful… the circle of life.

Besides, who would stop it? Flies are gross. And Sergei knew better than to kill a spider. He wasn't superstitious, but his brother always said "be nice to spiders, remember they've got the SD's on their side." And after he first saw the immense Spider Drones, he didn't need further convincing.

So he watched as it devoured the first fly and moved on to the second. In that time, another half-dozen had fallen into the web, along with a beetle. Sergei reached for his comm to send his roommate a snide remark about washing the dishes more often.

But when he reached into his pocket, he didn't find a comm, only centipedes. They writhed and bit, joined moments later by the bites of ants and the stings of wasps. He screamed and fell as they ripped as his eyes and tickled up his nose.

His final thoughts, through the pain of his heart pounding and his eardrums parting, were of the choices he never realized he had made.


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