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 stay grounded in the City of Accidental Wonders.
Apologies for the delay in our broadcast, cohorts. We’ve recently had to move our recording location – call it a studio if you like – and add some additional security around the place. Yeah, there’s a story there; you’ll hear it before too long, but certain matters have to be handled before I can talk about it openly. Or even closedly. That’s not a word.
Anyway, the calendar reads the seventeenth of Swiftstorm, year Seven Hundred and Fifteen in the Forty-One Worlds; and just like the Princess named for it, the month’s looking gorgeous! We’re getting some especially welcome warmth here in the city this week. It’s not toasty enough for short trousers, but I’ve noticed the hems of both men’s and ladies’ skirts creeping up a few inches! You know it’s warmed up when frozen algae stands are open all over the city; the chlorophytes are in fine flavor this season, and I treated myself to an excellent Tabellaria swirl on the way in tonight. You know, you’d think our new sky friend would be affecting the weather with tides or dust or something, but nope. That giant dark red moon still just hangs there: not orbiting, not falling, just… there. Bunch of folks started calling it Nibiron, which I’m sure is a clever reference to something or other, and now the name’s everywhere. Frankly, I miss seeing the stars it’s blocking; though I will admit watching luminous orange lava leap from Nibiron’s volcanoes and slide across the terrain to be kinda soothing in a fish-tank sort of way.
Speaking of missing things, the other day I finally had a quiet breakfast over at Lariman’s Bagels. Seems that the Council finally paid some private contractors to expedite aura cleanup around the Portal blast site, and the humming has stopped almost everywhere. Some folks from Thurms Phimesor Removal were finishing a bang-up job there at my breakfast spot; Frederick Thurms himself was getting his hands dirty to get the last of the surt – ahem, rude word, excuse me – the last of the “phimesor” off the etheric presence of the shop. I’d recommend his services to anyone who’s been letting their mindfulness slip a little recently.
Of course, that’s not the big news. Princess Swiftstorm has come out of seclusion, and she’s looking great! Dame Blue and the Royal Guard stayed close as she appeared publicly on the steps outside the Palace, where a crowd of minor dignitaries, citizen well-wishers, and more than a few reporters and info-streamers hung on her every word. The Princess apologized for her absence and reassured the City that business-as-usual would continue, briefly touching on diplomatic relations with Placir, the exploration of Nibiron, and trade issues around the Worlds.
Unsurprisingly, someone soon asked about the massive power beam she used against the Disruptors, and the Princess was ready for the question. She removed her cloak to reveal the most advanced, compact cybercasting rig I’d ever seen, even on Prime Caster MacAllen (who stood nearby). The glossy, armored device sat on her shoulders and upper back, running down the outside of her arms and flexing easily with her movements. Princess Swiftstorm announced this rig was a prototype, the latest in power and ease-of-use; and she’d been wearing it as a safety measure the day the Disruptors attacked. She’d suffered unpleasant feedback effects from the device’s first use in a stressful situation, but explained she was fully recovered and the bugs had been corrected. The Princess flashed a cheeky grin and predicted she soon wouldn’t be the only member of the City’s upper crust to have one.
Princess Swiftstorm answered a few more questions about the restoration of Portal service to Khedvar, mining revenue, and other City business; signed some autographs and posed for pictures; then the Guard escorted her back to her chambers. She seemed healthy, upbeat, and happy to be back among her subjects; and the City as a whole seems to have breathed a sigh of relief.
And yet… and yet… look, cohorts, if you’re looking for someone to sling muck at the Royals, you’re listening to the wrong broadcast. But… I just don’t know about the sudden appearance of that casting rig. Cybercasting requires long periods of intense training; while I guess the Princess might have been doing that with her spare time over the last few years, she’s got a lot on her plate already. There’s never been a hint from inside the Palace that she might be exploring a talent for techno-magic. Oh, yeah, it would be way cool! But I’m just not buying it. Someone here’s full of surt.
And I found the look on MacAllen’s face even more odd. In a City crisis like this, a Royal displaying advanced cybercasting abilities should have pleased him no end! His faction’s prestige and status in the boring, petty power games of Managlitch just jumped a notch or three, right? But no… he looked like someone had just force-fed him three liters of unrefined manapitch. Something is not right here.
Princess Swiftstorm, your loyal subjects here at the Managlitch City Underground have a request to make of you. Is it true you’ve been hiding a Change for months, or even years? Are you a glitcher like so many of your citizens? We beg you on behalf of everyone in the City, come on out and tell us! Your subjects won’t love you a particle less; some of us will love you even more. Glitchers and Unchanged citizens both need you, Princess. We need our royalty to set an example: come and join us in both the light and the shadows!
(sighs) Well… if nothing else, we’re all glad to see our Princess up and around and in the pink. That is: her robes gleamed with a nice shade of teal, but you know what I mean. She’s not planning to hide behind the Palace wall, either: we hear that she’ll appear at the official re-opening of the Zebulon Oxford Law Offices, now that “down” in the building once again matches “down” for the rest of us. You know – I wonder if the Princess’ announced reappearance was inadvertently responsible for the sudden doubling of aura cleanup efforts. The Council and Cybercasters would certainly want to show her a focused, mindful populace and an orderly city. If she recovered from – er, whatever – and emerged from her chambers to find the place a disastrous shambles, both groups would look pretty bad. The minor everyday shambles we generally enjoy would be fine, of course. But a City in turmoil would hand the Princess fresh ammunition against her opponents in the next high-level dispute. Hmm. Wonder if anyone’s told her about the demons yet.
Oh, yeah, demons! We’re still working with Nikolen Weber to put together that demon-busting team. Now, interested parties should understand this isn’t a half-planned thrill ride meant to satisfy unfulfilled needs for mayhem and adrenaline. We’re out to learn more about the plague of crashers infesting our city, and hoping to discover effective ways we can all protect ourselves from the creatures. PLUS we’re satisfying our unfulfilled needs for mayhem and adrenaline! Why, we’re practically providing a public service, we are. We’ve got some sweet tech lash-ups and a caster or two already signed on, but there’s always room for additional specialists! Feel free to get in touch if there just isn’t enough risk to life and limb in your routine!
I don’t think it has anything to do with the crashers, but just a little note of warning: a decorative gazebo overlooking one of the stunning landscapes at Cat Sun Park has gained a voice and started demanding a tribute of souls from passers-by. As the gazebo possesses no obvious way of enforcing its threats, the overlook has now become twenty times as popular as a destination for 2-, 3-, and 4-D photography. I’ve even heard about folks wearing inventive costumes to the park to get the best images of themselves with the structure. Still, if you’re heading out to the park in upcoming days, I’d keep an eye out for warning signs of mana casting, or for any sudden fading of your personal aura. Can’t be too careful around an angry gazebo.
Well, Nibiron continues to glow ominously on our studio’s outside camera feeds, and it looks like time to wrap up for the evening. Of course, 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. Episode Six, “Unchanged Remedy”, 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.