NARRATOR: Since the Seventh Age began, our magicians have been refining the black, viscous, tarry substance called mana-pitch into clear grey magical gems of great value across the Forty-One Worlds. Almost as long ago, explorer-mages discovered a limitless supply of that raw material here beneath our fair coastline, and built Manapitch City to exploit their find.
But so much raw magic twists the very planes of existence, causing aura surges across the city and the citizens. The city filled with unlikely events and improbable people as reality seemed to… glitch. Over the centuries, Manapitch gained a new name, known to all and used by most.
We present Managlitch, City of Accidental Wonders. Do try to keep your aura clear, citizen.
GLENN 755: Glenn SevenFiftyFive here: we’re back and bringing you Managlitch City Underground, on a zed-frequency of twenty-three-oh-eight. Broadcasting by net, infotower, and data-scry every open period, we have what *you* need to know to keep your aura clear in the City of Accidental Wonders.
By our re-adjusted chronometers, it’s the fifth of Chillsnap, year Seven Hundred and Fifteen in the Forty-One Worlds. Etherships are fun, but time is a little weird in tensorspace; no one’s wristwatch is ever right when they land. We’re glad to be back home.
We can’t get any new information from the Palace on Princess Swiftstorm’s condition. Word’s reached us that a team of Changed and Unchanged mercenaries tried a physical and electronic infiltration of the Palace a few days ago, but the Royal Guard wasn’t having any of that, and they got nowhere. Some of them will never go anywhere again.
While the ethereal buzzing around the landing plaza slowly decreases, the City sees further repercussions of the Khedvar Portalblast every day. Sales of aura-cleansing products have jumped impressively as citizens find it harder to maintain focus against pockets of scrambled ether. Over the course of several minutes last weekend, gravity in the uptown Zebulon Oxford Law Offices slowly shifted from “down” to “north”, and there were several serious injuries before rescue crews managed to evacuate the building with ropes and levitation castings. Advocate Oxford stated that he couldn’t say when business would resume, but that the firm would assist with the medical expenses of employees without coverage against Acts of Unreality.
We’ve even got reports flowing in from outside the City. Pyramids of carefully-assembled stone have erupted from the ground in several places along the Manapitch River, as far as a hundred kilometers from the City borders. Some are only a meter tall, some as much as five. Surveyors from the Manapitch Aurametric League can’t match up the pyramids’ positions and known ley lines, but they have posted images of some kind of glyphs or letters carved into some of the bricks. Annoyed locals moved at least one of the pyramids without any obvious complication or effect; but Chen Jorten’s daughters say she tried to clear one from her southwest field, then disappeared in a sudden blur of light and no one’s seen her since. So, surveyors are hotly debating whether they’d survive bringing one to the City for further study.
Of course, we’d all love to hear about new discoveries relating to the ancient peoples known to have once occupied this area. For that matter, we’d all be fascinated to hear about new ancient civilizations that never existed here before this week. This is Managlitch, after all! Right now, the League officially declares no opinion on the pyramids’ origin or the best course of study. However, I hear that physically strong glitchers with an interest in history are encouraged to get in touch with Ms. Avrela Singer through the Manapitch Aurametric League main office. A poor sense of self-preservation is a plus.
Seriously though, cohorts, there’s worse news. When the Khedvar Portal blew, we predicted many more glitchers, and we’ve got them. And we’ve all heard, over the years, whispered stories of really bad glitches: ones where the physical and mental changes were more than a citizen could handle, and things got ugly for the glitcher and anyone nearby. Well, the Khadvar blast hit some poor souls even harder than that. “Glitch” isn’t strong enough: the street is calling it a complete crash! Combine the worst anatomical changes you’ve ever heard rumors about with utterly psychotic, bestial derangement, and you’re starting get the idea. The Ministry of Order is acknowledging the reports without confirmation or denial, but I’m seeing more patrols on the streets. I’d have said this was all anti-glitcher propaganda, or an excuse to increase Ministry presence in the city; but cohorts, I have seen a crasher myself.
Last night I was returning to my place after a long day of… ah, errands. Despite the lateness of the hour, city lights and various aurorae made it easy to see my way. As I turned into a side street, something dropped on to me from above. I felt it coming and rolled away, but it clipped me anyway, digging a gash into my side.
Cohorts, I’ve never seen a glitch like this. Just try to imagine four limbs and a head all belonging to the same body, except the body wasn’t there. As I watched in shock, blood slowly oozed from the severed ends where a torso should have been. I could see bone, muscle, and layers of skin at the ends of the levitating sections; yet all the parts moved as one, as if a body still held them together. All four limbs sprouted sharp, bony spurs and ridges of fins or small wings or something, I couldn’t tell. In the midst of the thing’s horrific face, two glowing eyes fixed upon me, and nothing human looked out of them.
Now I’ve been in a fight plenty of times – few glitchers haven’t, sooner or later – but I just wasn’t ready for this. I found the time to push out two quick flamecasts which should have caused second-degree burns at least, but they only seemed to singe the thing. I figured that was it for me.
Then, through the thing’s empty middle, I saw the woman. I won’t forget her soon: dark hair, pale face, purple dragon-leather jacket, and a black flaring knee-length skirt that must have been real tricky to fight in. She’d been running, it appeared, but more importantly she held the biggest power sword I’ve seen outside the Ash Imperial military. Our eyes met briefly before she stepped up behind the creature, spun around to build up her swing and slashed low, cutting one of the crasher’s legs off of… uh… off of… well, the part she cut away fell to the ground, as did the crasher.
Well, that cursed thing rolled over onto its floating stump and the other knee, and looked up at her, feral hatred in… uh… body language. I saw her straighten and shift her grip on the sword, sighting down the crackling blade, and BAM! A plasmic blast from the sword smashed into the crasher’s face, knocking it backward as I jumped out of the way. That blighted head noisily evaporated in a blast of heat and steam; and the remaining limbs dropped lifelessly to the ground, no longer connected even by… whatever was doing it before.
“Thanks very much,” I said to her, standing up nice and slow with my hands empty and well away from my body. “I didn’t see monster carving on the Council’s municipal activity calendar tonight, but I applaud the way your initiative.”
Lady Purple Jacket cocked her head, and gave me a keen look.
ARTEMA SABLE: “I know your voice. You host the Underground broadcast, right? Glenn something.”
GLENN 755: I nodded. “Yeah, Glenn Something, that’s me.”
ARTEMA SABLE: “Right. So, Glenn Something,”
GLENN 755: – she continued –
ARTEMA SABLE: “here’s some free content: a public service announcement for your next show. Thanks to some truly epic screw-ups, it looks like the City’s got a demon problem. Luckily for the people of Managlitch, it’s also got demon hunters. Spread the word: if your glitcher friends, the useless Ministry, and everyone else just stays out of the way, my people might be able to save your asses.”
GLENN 755: And with those angry words, she powered down the sword and turned away. Still dazed from the whole thing, I could only stare as Lady Purple Jacket headed back the way she came, walking calmly as though she’d just done a bit of grocery shopping. I almost followed, but decided she was the second scariest thing I’d seen that night, and following wasn’t wise. Besides, home was the other way, and I had bleeding gashes to bandage.
So, cohorts, that’s my crasher story: I met the worst glitch I’ve ever seen, and survived via some timely and welcome help. If you’re listening, Ms. Purple Jacket, sincere thanks! I doubt I’d be broadcasting tonight if it weren’t for you. But today I asked around about your bunch while I picked up a new belt-mounted mana barrier; and while I heard a few more stories about demon hunters showing up to take out crashers, no one can tell me any details about them. It seems you’re new, you’re mysterious, and you’re quiet.
Are we ready for vigilantes with military-grade weapons and the skills to use them? Okay, I don’t know a glitcher out there who wants to see more of the Ministry on the streets, but is this what it will take to keep the City safe from these crashers? And if the rumors are true, every one of these monsters was once a citizen here, Changed or not. If any of us should happen to crash, is it a death sentence? Are we lost to our friends or families forever?
I don’t know, but I know this: traffic is picking up around here with the Cybercasters getting more of the new Rune Portals up and running, public concern be damned. Even the pirate attack on Starhunter Seven hasn’t put a damper on ethership schedules, and the transbeams are still humming. Managlitch City seems more crowded than ever. Cohorts, things are getting interesting! And when things get interesting, the Underground has fun!
Having said that, I think that’s enough fun for tonight. When we’re ready for more, we’ll be back next open period, broadcasting by net, infotower, and data-scry. This is Glenn SevenFiftyFive for Managlitch City Underground, shutting down zed-frequency twenty-three-oh-eight. Remember, keep your aura clear, and stay grounded.
ANNOUNCER: The voice of Managlitch City Underground today was Michael O’Brien as Glenn SevenFiftyFive. The narrator was Maya Kralovna as Princess Swiftstorm. Kara Dennison appeared as the woman in the Purple Jacket. Episode Four, “Demon Hunters”, was written by Michael O’Brien. Our theme music is “Crime of the Century” by Consortium 499. All other content is ©2015, Glitch City Media. Visit our website at managlitch.com for more information about the City and links to our podcast archives. See more of Kara Dennison’s work at karadennison.com. This episode is dedicated to the late Monty Oum, creator of RWBY.