Friday, February 17, 2012

Weak Points

Sometimes things, even people disappear. Other times things, even people, appear from seemingly nowhere. People sometimes speak of things, or people having mysteriously disappeared into thin air. Thinness might be one way to describe the situation, but it is not simply 'air' into or out of which these things disappear or arrive from elsewhere. The boundaries between worlds are far more porous and permeable than many would like to know. For whatever reason, the boundaries between the various strata of reality grow thin, rupture or get entangled or twisted-up somehow. The geometries describing this phenomena are mind-numbingly abstruse and form the basis of numerous sorcerous arts and sciences. The study of Weak Points has long been a fringe discipline, except in those places where they are far too common to be written-off or ignored.

Wermspittle is such a place. Weak Points are an incredibly common feature both in the immediate area surrounding Wermspittle, and all through the city itself as well. The place is littered with the things. Riddled. Like a worm-eaten bit of wood. It was the preponderance of Weak Points in this particular region that drew the attention of the scholars, sorcerers and their backers. Hundreds of cartogrammic surveyors, dowsers and others have descended upon the area over the years, but their wild accounts and fantastic reports were most often dismissed as faulty, sheer lunacy, or even dangerous propaganda instigated by foreign interests.

Everyone who knows anything about Wermspittle knows that the place is haunted and accursed, a festering den of heretics and outlaws, a birth-place of abominations and worse. But it is also a center of learning, healing and more. When one wants to study the sea, they must go where the sea is, and in the case of Weak Points and similar such phenomena, one goes to Wermspittle.

Meddling and Examining...
Weak Points are permeable regions that allow two or more worlds, universes or other such realms to commingle. Blend. Blur. Become resonantly harmonious, aligned or conjunct for a while. Most of the time this effect is on a very small scale and such regions are almost always temporary. Usually. But there are conditions under which a Weak Point can be 'captured' or affixed to a specific point and even tuned or modified so as to allow continuous access to what lies beyond. At least theoretically. Most of the research into such things is guarded closely by those who have gained some measure of hard-won expertise in such matters, often at serious risk and great trouble.

The body of work surrounding Weak Points, Tunnels and associated phenomena (such as the Cold Roads) has grown large and complex over the centuries since the formal establishment of 'Transitional Studies,' and 'Transplanar Reconnaissance,' as part of the established curriculum of the Academy. The Institute for Apocalyptic Studies was originally formed by a cadre of defrocked and excommunicated priests, but has transformed into an organizational body dedicated to the unraveling of the enigma of the so-called Dead Worlds that seem to flock around Wermspittle like flies, if one is to believe the accounts of some explorers and surveyors.

Scholars have trickled in to Wermspittle from across the farthest reaches of the Three Empires and many of the lesser principalities. Most of them at the end of their careers, whether they realize it or not. The sort of work that takes place in Wermspittle is suspect, often illicit, unsanctioned or worse. The stink of freethinking and open inquiry surrounds this place, provoking the disdain, disregard and even outright contempt of more mainstream authorities. No teachers ever leave Wermspittle for other schools. Other colleges and universities ship the intellectual debris discovered within the collections and corpus of otherwise respectable scientists and scholars to one or another of the archives and private libraries at Wermspittle. There is much Academic interest in the Weak Points and all that they imply, reveal or allow access unto within Wermspittle, but outside this region, such things are more often banned and damned by the Orthodoxies and Hierarchies who feel profoundly threatened by such things. That the majority of the science, research and experimentation being performed takes place in or around Wermspittle, a notorious hot-bed of heresies and discredited thinking only compounds the problem. And now, with the wars raging across the frontiers and plague spreading like wildfire even into the very heart of the Sanctumopolis of the Pontifical Triumvirate itself...these are perilous times...and a place like Wermspittle tends to get overlooked by those with more important matters to attend to, leaving only a few fanatics or zealots to contemplate the political utility of such a place and how it might serve their ambitions. Wermspittle has often been useful to a great many ambitious people, as with any discrete and deniable place of exile.

Who Knows...
But in Wermspittle, it is not only the Scholars vying for recognition and academic standing who delve into such matters as the true nature of the Weak Points. Inventors, dreamers, poets and schemers, and many of their ilk have come to this place to explore, to examine, to experiment upon Weak Points among other things. Some of them have reported spectacular successes, others have experienced terrifying failures. Daredevils and religious fanatics have likewise come to Wermspittle to find the way to fabulous, mythical kingdoms, to unlock the paths to any number of paradises or hells. Some seek out the Weak Points in order to escape, others hunt them down looking for answers to impossible riddles. For centuries the people of Wermspittle have learned how to live with the Weak Points, how to make the most of their situation, to mark the comings and goings of recurring Weak Points, to chart out the cycles of the more regular ones and to map out the Near Places and sometimes offer a few cryptic hints regarding certain of the Far Places, to note the Paths, the Trails and the Tunnels and to leave something of an oral tradition behind to remind those who come after as to what has been already seen or spotted along the Otherside of those Weak Points that have proven useful or dangerous, benign or malevolent.  If someone were to successfully gather up all these fragments, collect all this lore into some sort of comprehensive and organized ephemeris, catalog, or almanac, it would be an incredible achievement. So far all the in-fighting and under-handed rivalries between the various experts who might have some sort of a shot at completing such a work has prevented any such things taking place. So far.

For A Price...
It is rumored that even the Midwives know something of these things. Which comes as no surprise to anyone who has spent more than a fortnight in this place. It is said, that for a small fee they might scratch a small map or diagram into the hearth-ashes that will reveal something of the nature of a particular Weak Point, but they are loathe to divulge their secrets. One might also consider consulting the Sewer System Concordance & Cthonic Ephemeris published every October by the Sewer Militia, as it is said that these indispensable almanacs contain an appendix that deals with Weak Points in a fair bit of detail, from a practical stand-point, as one would expect from the Sewer Militia. There used to be a Ley-Hunter's Guide and Dowser's Digest printed annually around hundred years ago or so, but it suddenly ceased publication and has never been officially replaced or revived. Old back-issues of this venerable almanac are much sought-after by those engaged in the exploration of Weak Points, Tunnels or related phenomena, including various discredited Geomantics, Parasurveyors, Dowsers and the Ley-Hunters. Collectors and book-sellers are known to bribe apprentices out hunting Wet Spots and the like for the Corruption Trade for any old books they might uncover in their work within the various Abandoned Properties of the Burned Over District and other such places. The going rate for a decent copy of a Dowser's Digest has been steadily going up, to the point that certain of the collectors have actively interfered with recent attempts to revive the publication.

Opportunities
Weak Points offer Practical Philosophers a chance to learn about the actual structure of the universe and to acquire first-hand experience of things that have been left in the hands of contentious and squabbling theoreticians for far too long. There are few theoreticians who have survived long enough to achieve any sort of tenure at the Academy in Wermspittle. Those who study and explore the Weak Points tend to be among the best and the brightest, but they still have a high attrition rate. The high turn-over rate does mean that there are always openings and opportunities for those drawn to this sort of thing. If you have what it takes. It is not for the faint-hearted.

2 comments:

  1. What a wonderful and inspiring article! I love the multiverse, God bless it! So much potential for mayhem (read fun).

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  2. Your words are a haunting reminder that we are not alone in this world. Their are places, creatures and things that just cannot be explain or quantified. Yet your words linger in the air and cling to my soul reminding me that their world beyond the one before my eyes. I can only hope that I am brave enough and foolish enough to delve into the aether world that you have captured here.

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